WHY HARM REDUCTION
We have a proactive approach to harm reduction. Our goal is to empower our peers to positively influence their own health and safety by providing some tools and information regarding harm reduction.
HEALTH AND SAFETY
Given the current public health crisis in Alberta, we are particularly concerned about the risks involved in consuming illicit substances. We encourage abstinence from drug use.
In accordance with Canadian law, Borealis Festival is a drug-free event. However we realize, regardless of the law, our harm reduction plan and gate policies, and the inherent dangers of illicit drug use, some may still choose to use these substances. With this in mind, we have a proactive approach to harm reduction.
Our goal is to empower our peers to positively influence their own health and safety by providing some tools and information regarding harm reduction, and will do so leading up to and throughout Borealis Festival through education for and communication to our community around safer partying. We want everyone to have positive experiences at Borealis Festival for years to come.
If you or someone you know is struggling with their relationship with substances, we encourage you to explore the following resources:
For free information and referrals to social services including treatment and detox:
AB Mental Health & Substance Use Services:
Simply put, consent is a mutual agreement to physical contact.
Having consent means that all folks involved in the activity are 100% STOKED on everything that is happening in the moment.
Given, not taken
All parties involved need to be fully engaged, agreeable, and consensually present in order for consent to be valid. Sometimes we aren’t in the right frame of mind to give or get adequate consent. If there is any doubt — Stop. Go for a walk, hit the dancefloor, check out the art installations, or take a nap. Revisit the connection later.
There is more to consent than just “Yes” or “No”. Remember to pay attention to body language and tone of voice.
HERE FOR YOU
Our security team and festival crew take consent very seriously. Please let them know if someone is acting in a way that is making people feel uncomfortable. Let's all be responsible for the energy we bring to the dance floor.
If you want to learn more about consent or are feeling unsafe, concerned, or overwhelmed or at any time during Borealis Festival, come visit the Indigo Harm Reduction Sanctuary.
Staying cool and hydrated is essential. Potable water is available to everyone FOR FREE. Please familiarize yourself with the fill stations located throughout the site.
Here are some tips on how to keep your body in top shape while respecting the natural water on site.
Please bring less bottled water. Instead opt to bring a reusable container and refill it.
Avoid unmarked water bottles and drinks from strangers.
Label your drink container if it contains anything other than water.
Avoid the river if intoxicated and encourage others to do the same.
THE PEMBINA RIVER IS A HABITAT TO WILDLIFE
Please play within the natural flow of the river and refrain from building dams, walls, or pools. Do not use soap of any kind in the river.
Avoid heat exhaustion. Take a swim or use a spray bottle to keep you and friends cool.
Good rule of thumb: sit and sip (not pound) 500ml of water every hour.
Stop to go pee when you are refilling your water bottle.
Save river play for the day. Nighttime and water just don’t mix.
WATER IS LIFE
“When we are born, it is water that comes first. Birth is sacred and so is the water.”
-George Brertton, Cree Elder, Saddle Lake First Nation
“When you respect water, that water will respect you back. If you don’t respect water, that water will take you – that’s when you drown.”
-Leo Pard, Blackfoot Spiritual Elder, Piikani Nation
"For the fish and the creatures that live within it, for the land it nourishes, and for the people whose thirst it quenches. It is a precious resource, and our rivers are constantly threatened by temperature and human intervention. Please do your utmost to act with respect and responsibility toward our water.”
-Ruth Toleron, Lower Nicola Indian Band
The pharmaceutical, fentanyl, has recently been linked to numerous overdoses is Western Canada. A public health crisis related to the substance has been growing in Alberta in recent years and over there has been hundreds of deaths in AB due to fentanyl in 2017/2018.
WHAT IS FENTANYL?
Fentanyl is a strong opioid prescription painkiller. To put its strength into perspective, think of Tylenol #3, which contains Codeine. Codeine is 1/10 as strong as Morphine. Fentanyl, by comparison, is 50 -100 times stronger than Morphine.
Illicitly produced fentanyl is sold as pills or powder, and is being mixed with heroin, oxycodone, and occasionally stimulants. Fentanyl pills disguised as oxycodone, known as "green jellies," "fake 80's," or "street oxy," are turning up across Canada.
WHY IS FENTANYL SO DANGEROUS?
Fentanyl is a Central Nervous System (CNS) depressant. Our CNS regulates essential functions like breathing. Drugs like fentanyl disturb the CNS' ability to regulate the body's essential functions . Fentanyl can cause respiratory depression which means a person isn't breathing enough to meet the body's demands, or stops breathing entirely. Because fentanyl is so strong it only takes a VERY small amount to make this happen. Fentanyl is much more potent and therefore more likely to lead to overdose than heroin or oxycodone.
HOW DO YOU SPOT AN OVERDOSE?
Extreme sleepiness or drastically decreased alertness
Breathing problems - breathing may stop
Blue colour to lips and nail beds
Cold, clammy skin
WHAT CAN BE DONE TO REVERSE AN OVERDOSE?
The drug called Naloxone can reverse the effects of opioid/opiate overdose if given in time. If overdose is suspected, seek medical attention immediately. If you're at a festival, find someone with a radio to get first aid if the person is unable to get themselves to the first aid tent.
CAN I JUST TAKE SOME UPPERS/STIMULANTS TO REVERSE THE EFFECTS ?
No. Doing a stimulant like cocaine actually INCREASES how much oxygen your body needs, while the fentanyl diminishes your body's ability to detect that increased need.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I PLAN TO INGEST OXYCODONE OR OTHER SUBSTANCES PURCHASED OFF THE STREET?
There is no easy way to tell if pills or powders have been contaminated with fentanyl, however there are ways to minimize the risk of overdose:
• Never use drugs alone
•Start with a small dose, especially if you have a new source
• Ensure that you have access to naloxone (an opiate antidote) so it can be administered if you get into trouble
• If you or your friends are using ANY substance at a music festival, note the location of the first aid tent before consuming.
WHY WOULD SOMEONE ADD FENTANYL TO OTHER DRUGS OR TRY TO DISGUISE IT AS OXYCODONE?
Anything can be laced, cut with, or contain enough traces of fentanyl to cause overdose. Fentanyl is rather inexpensive, but potent . People making illicit drugs may mix it into other substances so that the user feels a "high" with less of the expensive substance used, thus increasing their profit potential.
WHY DO SOME PEOPLE USE OPIATES?
Opiate/opioid drugs are prescribed by a doctor to help alleviate the pain caused by a medical condition or injury. When used as ordered, they can be very effective pain killers. In addition to pain management, people may also use them due to dependence. People may also choose to acquire them and use them in social situations, as they enjoy the high they produce.
IN WHAT CONTEXT MIGHT SOMEONE USE OPIATES LIKE OXYCODONE OR FENTANYL?
Prescribed - they have a condition for which their doctor has ordered opiate/opioid painkillers. Street Acquired - purchasing prescription drugs off a dealer for pain management or recreational/social use. Accidental ingestion- the pill or powder they purchased was laced or cut with fentanyl, which was not a substance they intended on taking
WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE?
There is no way to tell if your pressed pill or powder contains fentanyl.
Feet injuries are the #1 reason for visits to first aid.
Learn how to keep safe:
PROTECT YOUR FEET
You’re going to do a lot of walking and dancing over the course of the weekend.
Bring comfortable, well ventilated shoes that offer good support
Flip-flops are good for lounging riverside but can become a hazard at night
It will be hot. But always be prepared for rain. Keep this in mind as you pack.
Pack a foot first aid kit: Band-aids, moleskins, and tensor bandages.
GIVE YOUR FEET A BREAK EVERY DAY
Elevate them in a hammock, rinse them in the river, stretch them out in yoga, or “sit dance” on the edge of the dance floor.
CAN BE VERY CALMING
Barefeet can be very calming but we strongly recommend you don’t go barefoot the entire weekend. The festival grounds range from:
PLEASE DO YOUR PART
Help yourself and our highly skilled volunteer medical team by protecting and nurturing your feet.