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Keep an eye on your friends, even when you don’t know them”: Drug use and harm reduction in the Goa trance scene in Belgium

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Abstract
Aims: The high prevalence of illegal drug use among rave party attendees and the emerging Goa trance scene in Belgium are the main impetus for assessing perceived harm reduction strategies among Goa party visitors. Insights into this question can contribute to our understanding of contemporary underground drug cultures and help to identify potential pathways for targeted interventions in (underground) music scenes such as Goa trance. Methods: Following pilot observations at Goa parties, in-depth interviews were conducted with 19 Belgian Goa party attendees. Respondents were recruited by snowball sampling. Findings: Their insiders’ perspectives revealed that solidarity is still apparent and is an important variable in minimizing drug-related harm. Furthermore, controlled drug consumption is employed to minimize harm, such as buying drugs from trusted people, trying to keep drug use limited to weekends, respecting one’s own limits, and always providing help and support to people in need. Conclusions: The combination of introducing communitarian and neo-liberal values into harm reduction strategies might challenge public health workers. Approaching drug users as active citizens and useful resources may lead the way to innovative harm reduction strategies. Evaluating enabling resources in settings where drug use occurs, will provide additional pathways to harm reduction policies and programs.
Keywords
DANCE MUSIC, USE PATTERNS, SUBSTANCE USE, ECSTASY-USERS, APPLIED COMMUNITARIAN ETHICS, NIGHTLIFE, MINIMIZATION, CONSUMPTION, PREFERENCE, PLEASURE

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Chicago
Van Havere, Tina, Sebastien Tutenges, Jessica De Maeyer, Eric Broekaert, and Wouter Vanderplasschen. 2015. “Keep an Eye on Your Friends, Even When You Don’t Know Them": Drug Use and Harm Reduction in the Goa Trance Scene in Belgium.” Drugs-education Prevention and Policy 22 (3): 239–247.
APA
Van Havere, T., Tutenges, S., De Maeyer, J., Broekaert, E., & Vanderplasschen, W. (2015). Keep an eye on your friends, even when you don’t know them": Drug use and harm reduction in the Goa trance scene in Belgium. DRUGS-EDUCATION PREVENTION AND POLICY, 22(3), 239–247.
Vancouver
1.
Van Havere T, Tutenges S, De Maeyer J, Broekaert E, Vanderplasschen W. Keep an eye on your friends, even when you don’t know them": Drug use and harm reduction in the Goa trance scene in Belgium. DRUGS-EDUCATION PREVENTION AND POLICY. 2015;22(3):239–47.
MLA
Van Havere, Tina, Sebastien Tutenges, Jessica De Maeyer, et al. “Keep an Eye on Your Friends, Even When You Don’t Know Them": Drug Use and Harm Reduction in the Goa Trance Scene in Belgium.” DRUGS-EDUCATION PREVENTION AND POLICY 22.3 (2015): 239–247. Print.
@article{5889910,
  abstract     = {Aims: The high prevalence of illegal drug use among rave party attendees and the emerging Goa trance scene in Belgium are the main impetus for assessing perceived harm reduction strategies among Goa party visitors. Insights into this question can contribute to our understanding of contemporary underground drug cultures and help to identify potential pathways for targeted interventions in (underground) music scenes such as Goa trance. Methods: Following pilot observations at Goa parties, in-depth interviews were conducted with 19 Belgian Goa party attendees. Respondents were recruited by snowball sampling. Findings: Their insiders{\textquoteright} perspectives revealed that solidarity is still apparent and is an important variable in minimizing drug-related harm. Furthermore, controlled drug consumption is employed to minimize harm, such as buying drugs from trusted people, trying to keep drug use limited to weekends, respecting one{\textquoteright}s own limits, and always providing help and support to people in need. Conclusions: The combination of introducing communitarian and neo-liberal values into harm reduction strategies might challenge public health workers. Approaching drug users as active citizens and useful resources may lead the way to innovative harm reduction strategies. Evaluating enabling resources in settings where drug use occurs, will provide additional pathways to harm reduction policies and programs.},
  author       = {Van Havere, Tina and Tutenges, Sebastien and De Maeyer, Jessica and Broekaert, Eric and Vanderplasschen, Wouter},
  issn         = {0968-7637},
  journal      = {DRUGS-EDUCATION PREVENTION AND POLICY},
  keyword      = {DANCE MUSIC,USE PATTERNS,SUBSTANCE USE,ECSTASY-USERS,APPLIED COMMUNITARIAN ETHICS,NIGHTLIFE,MINIMIZATION,CONSUMPTION,PREFERENCE,PLEASURE},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {239--247},
  title        = {Keep an eye on your friends, even when you don{\textquoteright}t know them{\textquotedblright}: Drug use and harm reduction in the Goa trance scene in Belgium},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/09687637.2014.899985},
  volume       = {22},
  year         = {2015},
}

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