Above photo: Kate Hodgson, Registered Nurse with the Powell River ICM team/ Intensive Case Management Team Coordinator; Jessica Leavens, Harm Reduction Support worker, Powell River Community Health VCH.
The participation of Powell River's Harm Reduction and ICM (Integrated Case Management) teams at Diversity Music Festival was a great success.
The team attended the Texada Island festival on July 20 to provide drug checks, Naloxone training and harm reduction. The festival organizers were also very supportive of their presence and provided a tent, parking spot and other supports to ensure they had everything they needed. They also encouraged their volunteers to take part in the Naloxone training and spread the word through announcements and posters.
The Powell River team offered drug checks at the event, and all tests were negative for fentanyl, with none disposed. Staff was so pleased with how supportive and helpful the RCMP were regarding these efforts.
Take-home Naloxone training was provided for 15 people, and 22 kits were distributed. Three group training Naloxone sessions took place, with three to five participants in each group. Harm reduction supplies were available and were distributed throughout the day. The team also gave out Safer Smoking kits, meth pipes, safer injecting kits, as well as empty sharps containers.
The peer support representative from SUSTAIN (Substance Users Society Teaching Advocacy Instead of Neglect) joined the team and was able to promote SUSTAIN and the training to the festival participants and assisted in setting up for training.
Client feedback surveys were distributed at the event. One comment stated: “Big Thanks. Should be here the whole weekend." Another attendee requested ongoing education and testing throughout the whole duration of the festival.
Members of the team carried out some great conversations about harm reduction in a festival setting and the public was generally receptive to their message. Additional feedback was received regarding Naloxone training opportunities to increase information sharing with those who regularly attend festivals about the benefits of being trained and the increase in contamination of the drug supply.