Modern Culture

Drug testing organizations save lives, so why haven’t… organizers embraced them?

In 2014, Dede Goldsmith started a campaign to amend the RAVE Act. “Specifically, I am asking for language to be added to the law to make it clear that event organizers and venue owners can implement safety measures to reduce the risk of medical emergencies, including those associated with drug use, without fear of prosecution by federal authorities,” she says. She also began a dialogue about harms caused by the RAVE Act with Virginia senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner.

In 2016, on behalf of Goldsmith, Kaine and Warner asked former Attorney General Loretta Lynch to clarify which harm-reduction safety measures are allowed under the law. “The DEA shares Mrs. Goldsmith’s concerns that venue owners not be discouraged from providing appropriate safety measures at entertainment venues,” Sean Mitchell, a section chief at the Drug Enforcement Administration, wrote to senators Kaine and Warner in January of this year. “Our review of the Illicit Drug Anti-Proliferation Act, codified at 21 U.S.C §856, did not identify any provision of the Act that would discourage law abiding venue owners from instituting safety measures for its patrons, including the provision of water.”  “I’m trying to make some hay in this administration,” Goldsmith said. “I want water, cool-down spaces, drug education, properly trained medical personnel, I want all those things.” Stefanie Jones, director of audience development at the Drug Policy Alliance’s Safer Partying Campaign, says that the presence of drugs adulterated with fentanyl has made reforming legislation that hinders drug testing, like the RAVE Act, a necessity. “There’s no putting the genie back in the bottle,” she said. “At this point, the best harm reduction strategy is to making drug testing legal and as easily accessible as possible.”

Original Article (The Appeal):
Drug testing organizations save lives, so why haven’t… organizers embraced them?
Artwork Fair Use: ECfES

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