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'Fentanyl is killing our friends': KC Rave Safe provides harm reduction supplies at concerts, festivals

Posted: 5:13 PM, Jul 04, 2024
Updated: 2024-07-08 17:49:48-04
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KSHB 41 reporter JuYeon Kim covers agricultural issues and the fentanyl crisis. If you have a story idea to share, send her an email to juyeon.kim@kshb.com.

Summer concerts and festivals are here and as the Kansas City area heads into a holiday weekend, a local non-profit is working to make sure people enjoy themselves safely.

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Andi Thomason started Kansas City Rave Safe in October 2023 after witnessing a person suffer a drug overdose at a music festival.

Thomason administered Narcan on a stranger.

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“It was kind of terrifying experience,” said Thomason.

Rave Safe is a group by ravers for ravers.

Volunteers hand out harm reduction supplies like Narcan and fentanyl test strips to people attending concerts.

The group also provides resources, including condoms, menstrual products, Chapstick, instant ice packs and Tylenol.

“Making sure that we have accessibility for Narcan and making sure that we are testing our substances, destigmatizing what that means and making sure that people are aware that it’s okay to ask for help,” said Thomason. “Whoever asks us to be there, we try to make sure that we’re available and have volunteers.”

Rave Safe is at two to three concerts a week around the metro. By the end of the year, their goal is to expand to St. Louis and Lawrence.

“We’re putting it directly in the hands of people where they need it,” said Jessica Huggins, a volunteer with Rave Safe. “I’ve had people come up to my booth and have people tell me how having one (Narcan) on hand has actually saved somebody.”

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Huggins joined the group as a volunteer as a way to give back.

The EDM community brought her out of a dark place after years of substance abuse. She is using every conversation as an opportunity for education and awareness.

“Rediscovering that allowed me to come back alive," Huggins said. "And so it’s important to me that I do something to keep this."

Peace, love, unity and respect are the principles associated and understood within the rave culture. With Rave Safe, Thomason is hoping to inspire a new word to be included in the list.

“That extra R, which is responsibility, I think it’s gonna change your life in a great way,” said Thomason.

Rave Safe will be at Dacefestopia and the Phantom Music Festival this summer.

The group operates only on donations and uses volunteers.

For more information on how to give or for information on upcoming concerts, send them an email at kcravesafe@gmail.com.