Why “harm reduction” means something different in Mexico
By Amaya Ordorika
It takes a little getting used to: bringing an illicit substance to an official booth at a rave to have its contents analyzed before you ingest it. At first people tend to be skeptical. Is this some sort of trap? Will I be arrested and thrown into jail? This is Mexico, after all—a country firmly entrenched in the war on drugs.
Ending this war is the main objective of our youth drug policy organization ReverdeSer Colectivo [site in Spanish]. And a key part of that effort are the services we offer at raves and festivals, where you can find us handing out information about drugs, helping patrons having physical or psychedelic problems, and analyzing their pills before they take them to make sure they’re safe to ingest.
This is the essence of harm reduction—an approach that accepts drug use as a fact of life, and works to minimize the risks of such usage. In that spirit, ReverdeSer Colectivo is working with other organizations like Espolea and CUPIHD to implement a substance analysis project in Mexico City. We are engaging with the local addictions institute and human rights commission to establish a lab that could not only analyze substances but also serve as a key place for harm reduction programs for people who use drugs.
Our work doing substance analysis at festivals and raves gives us an opportunity to talk about safer ways to use drugs and to hand out information to people about the drugs they’ll be using.
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Thumbnail: ReverdeSer Colectivo
- ReverdeSer Colectivo
- Open Society Foundations (OSF)