Supporting the coalition of DanceSafe chapters, which includes PartySmart

DanceSafe is a coalition of harm-reduction groups operating throughout North America. It relies on volunteers from these local chapters to take on projects that support the entire coalition. As one of the most active and experienced chapters, with a strong base of volunteers, PartySmart has the opportunity and the responsibility to organize and participate in projects that strengthen DanceSafe overall.

Chapter Development

PartySmart works hard to help new harm-reduction groups get off the ground, and to become DanceSafe chapters if they so choose. We moderate a discussion forum for rave harm-reduction groups, many of which become DanceSafe chapters. In this forum, we answer questions, make connections, and offer encouragement to anyone who wishes to start a group, find a nearby group to join, or share their experiences in organizing and running their group. We maintain a database of rave harm-reduction groups around the world, and of people who have expressed interest in starting groups. We use this to connect people with others in their local area who have the same interest. We work closely with new groups in our region, mentoring them and helping them to become established. Some of the DanceSafe chapters we have helped to establish are:

  • Colorado Harm Reduction (Boulder, Denver, Colorado Springs, CO), May, 2000.

  • People of Lubbock Understand Responsibility (Lubbock, TX), December, 2001.

  • Unified Culture Awareness Program (Southern New Mexico & El Paso, TX), February – May, 2002.

Literature Development

The DanceSafe literaure, and especially the drug information cards, needs to be kept up to date, accurate, relevant, and appealing to their intended audience. This literature is used worldwide, and is unique for its honesty, non-judgemental tone, relevance to young people, and especially for its appealing design. PartySmart participates in the DanceSafe literature development committee, and has taken responsibility for updating the Heroin card. We will help to translate information into Spanish, to develop new drug cards, and to design new literature for other areas of health and safety that meets the same standards of honesty, tone, relevance, and appeal.

Coalition Meetings

PartySmart participates in and helps to organize meetings of the DanceSafe chapters. These meetings are typically organized to coincide with harm-reduction or drug-policy reform conferences. In June, 2001, PartySmart hosted and helped to plan and facilitate the meeting of DanceSafe chapters in Albuquerque, in conjunction with a drug-policy reform conference organized by the Drug Policy Alliance. This meeting was attended by forty DanceSafe representatives from all over North America. Special thanks go to PartySmart volunteers Amber (transportation), Dylan & Julie (conference booth), Geoff (accommodations, entertainment, facilities, planning); and to DanceSafe volunteers Bryan (Sacramento) and Jamie (Buffalo) for planning and facilitation. Some of the coalition meetings that we have attended or plan to attend are:

Program Development

The mission of many DanceSafe chapters is broader than that of DanceSafe itself (“To promote health and safety within the rave and nightclub community”). Many chapters have outreach projects that serve other communities. For example, several chapters (including PartySmart) are involved in assisting schools and colleges with drug education. Some chapters are naturally drawn into the area of drug policy reform. PartySmart is helping to revise the DanceSafe mission to support these advocacy and outreach program areas.

PartySmart is involved in development of new programs for drug education in schools and colleges, emphasizing health and safety, and based on empowerment, honesty, and respect. This includes development of program evaluation criteria, school curriculum, literature, and training programs. It involves working with state departments of health and education, school district administration, teachers, counselors, nurses, and students.

PartySmart is involved in development of DanceSafe’s Safe Settings Program. We moderate a discussion forum for safe settings, and we maintain a collection of internet resources from around the world, where work has been done in the area of safe settings.

Program Evaluation

In order to demonstrate success, we need to measure the achievements of our programs. While each chapter may have a different mission and different programs, all chapters have some goals in common. We need to develop common criteria and objectives to measure progress toward these goals. With the goals of our Rave & Nightclub Health & Safety program as a guide, PartySmart is developing such criteria and objectives. One thing is clear: we must go beyond measures of individual health, and consider also the health of our communities.

© 2002 – 2009 PartySmart, a non-profit corporation