Drug Welfare at Irish Festival for the First Time

by Abbie Llewelyn

A version of this article was originally published on the Help Not Harm blog.

Help Not Harm are pleased to announce a partnership with Electric Picnic to conduct the first ever dedicated drug welfare service at a festival in Ireland.

We are delighted to have developed a partnership with such a major music festival and to provide an additional drug welfare service to help the wellbeing and safety of attendees. This will have a huge benefit for other services and we look forward to continuing to build relationships with the Red Cross and an Gardaí Suíochána.

General welfare has traditionally been tasked by the Medics at music festivals in Ireland. This additional drug welfare service will specialise in drug-related issues that may occur, which helps relieve the pressure from Medics who can focus resources on medical emergencies. The provision of drug welfare will mean a holistic approach can be applied between Help Not Harm, the Red Cross and an Gardaí Suíochána to ensure that the needs of people who use drugs are met. This service will help people by giving out free water, tea, beds and blankets. We will talk to anyone that wants to know more information or awareness on drugs in a non-judgemental setting.

19 experienced volunteers will wear the Help Not Harm blue attire from Thursday to Monday and will be stationed at the Medic Tent in Jim Hendrix and a dedicated drug welfare tent at the entrance, should anyone require help or assistance. We strive to protect the wellbeing and mindfulness of people who use drugs by taking a non-judgemental stance.

Members of Help Not Harm have volunteered at UK music festivals this summer conducting drug welfare. This invaluable experience and training has equipped us with the necessary knowledge to set a high standard for this weekend. We would like to thank Katie MacLeod of Chill Welfare for her continued dedication and inspiration in leading this service.

For arranging drug welfare services at music festivals and events for 2017, please contact Help Not Harm.

Words by Graham de Barra (Director, Help Not Harm). Tweets @GramsdB

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