Port Renfrew’s Tall Tree Festival managed to keep their site fentalyl free, organizers report. (Submitted)

Port Renfrew’s Tall Tree Festival managed to keep their site fentalyl free, organizers report. (Submitted)

Tall Tree Festival fentanyl-free

The recently concluded Tall Tree Music Festival in Port Renfrew, reported that zero fentanyl was detected onsite.

That means that, “through harm reduction drug testing services that no fentanyl overdoses or deaths occurred,” according to Emmalee Brunt, communications manager for the festival.

Organizers of the festival determined it was important to step up following the increase in fentanyl-related drug overdoses in B.C., she said.

They made “the precautionary decision to increase harm reduction services and to increase staff on both the onsite medical team and harm reduction team for 2017.

“The Festival reports that zero fentanyl was detected in any of the free and confidential drug testing offered through Harm Reduction Services and no fentanyl related concerns were brought to the team’s attention over the course of the event. Most importantly, there were zero fentanyl overdoses reported by either the Harm Reduction Team, Medical Team or Volunteer Fire Dept, and only in one unrelated instance did a patron have to be transported offsite for further medical treatment. The individual was released shortly after admission and has made a full recovery,” she said.

According to Kaitlyn Nohr, director of harm reduction at Tall Tree Music Festival, the result has left everyone in the organization pleased.

Tall Tree’s harm reduction strategy worked by providing lots of education and care to patrons at the event.

While organizers do not condone the use of illicit drugs, the number one priority is keeping attendees safe. Over the course of the weekend, several drug tests were completed and more than 800 individuals educated about harm reduction practices.

“Harm Reduction and Medical worked around the clock to ensure the safety of everyone present,” Nohr said. “The difference in working with safety teams in a collaborative way has proven time and time again, (for me anyways over the past four years) that there is a solid group of individuals committed to supporting each other and the people attending the festival.”

In 2017 the services provided at the event included: full service field hospital, harm reduction tent, roving harm reduction unit, drug testing, drug and sexual education services, safe space/sanctuary for anyone needing a break, staff and volunteers ranging from nurses, social workers, counsellors, MDs, paramedics, police and fire. The volunteer firefighters onsite conducted hourly checks of buildings, outhouses and campsites to ensure patrons are safe throughout the night.