DanceSafe Promoting Health and Safety

  • Introduction to Navigating Power Dynamics
    by Kristin Karas on 24 Maggio 2019 at 22:53

    By: Sloane Ferenchak, #WeLoveConsent Intern, DanceSafe Bear Michael, #WeLoveConsent Communications & Social Media Intern, DanceSafe #WeLoveConsent seeks to help dismantle rape culture and build a consent culture within the electronic music and nightlife communities. #WeLoveConsent initiatives and services focus on building a consent culture and reducing the incidence of sexual violence in nightlife settings through consent education and bystander intervention. As part of these initiatives, we are publishing a #WeLoveConsent Toolbox Blog Series which focuses on providing the fundamental knowledge our community needs to practice affirmative consent and to help us build a consent culture in the electronic music and nightlife communities. In our first #WeLoveConsent Toolbox article, we began talking about consent and affirmative, empowering ways to establish consent with your partner(s). An important aspect of establishing consensual sexual interactions is learning how to navigate imbalanced power dynamics. Most people desire sex and want to have fun, mutually pleasurable, consensual sexy time. Uneven power dynamics can alter the dynamics of sexual relationships and experiences, giving some people more power and influence than others in sexual encounters. When there is a power imbalance in a sexual relationship, people can feel anxious and/or pressure to do things they might not be comfortable with in the moment. Let’s explore this a bit more to help clarify what some power dynamics look like and how you can work towards evening the power differential through two steps: (1) recognizing and identifying potential differences in power, and (2) communication. Key Concepts to Know about Power, Privilege, and Consent Power dynamics are differences in access to power, authority, and influence over others. They exist as a result of hierarchical systems of power that privilege certain individuals and marginalize others. These systems can be social, cultural, or economic, and include systems such as patriarchy, white supremacy, and cisheteronormativity. People’s power and influence are based on their socioeconomic position, job, race, gender, sexuality and so on. Those at the top of the system hold more power and influence as a result of their privilege, and those at the bottom have fewer resources, less power, and are often taken advantage of by those in power. Having intersecting identities can also influence where someone stands in the “social hierarchy:” a person may be at the top of the “hierarchy” as a white cisgender straight man, but they will be much lower on the hierarchy if they are a transgender queer black woman. Occupying different social positions gives people different lived experiences and different access to power to shape the world around them. Because no two people have the same exact lived experience, any relationship has the potential to have a power imbalance. Power is not inherently good or bad, but with a privileged social position a person has more social credibility and influence that can be misused to take advantage of others or pressure them into doing things they don’t want to do. People with power may also not be aware of how their actions negatively impact or influence the decision making of less powerful people. Power imbalances can make it difficult to recognize if consent is freely given, and can even make consent impossible. This is why when we talk about consent, we also need to discuss the impact of power on a person’s ability to consent in sexual interactions and how power can be abused in and out of the bedroom. How Power can be Flexed: Social Pressure, Sexual Coercion, and Sexual Violence Having power gives a person the ability to impact the lives of those who they have power over, which can be used to manipulate people into doing what they want. Sexual coercion can occur in sexual encounters with power imbalances. Sexual coercion is any unwanted sexual activity that happens when a person is pressured, threatened, or forced in a non-physical way by someone who holds power or authority over them. Sexual coercion makes a person feel like they owe sex to someone or that they don’t have the choice to say “no.” People can be coerced by those who hold power over them for fear of losing their livelihood, reputation, or safety. People can also be coerced by people they are in relationships with, such as when a partner threatens a break up if the person won’t have sex with them, or makes them believe that it is too late to say “no.” Power differentials can also play out in less obvious ways. People can exert their power without coercing them directly. People know when others hold power over them regardless of whether the person in power threatens to use it. For example, a person knows they could be kicked out of a venue by the owner if they do not give in to them, and a fan could feel the social pressure to hook up with their favorite DJ and may not think that they can back out of it if they want to. It may be hard to tell when someone is being coerced in these situations. A person may also feel pressured by people they know, or their romantic partner(s), such as when a person feels like they owe sex to their partner(s) to keep them happy. The power imbalance in relationships can also contribute to sexual violence. We can see the frequency of the abuse of power in sexual relationships when we look at the high rates of sexual assault in the US. Sexual assault is possible due to power, and occurs as a result of power. Sexual predators use power differentials to manipulate their targets, whether it is to coerce them into sex, use their physical power to overcome them, or prevent their victims from reporting by using social or economic force against them. In fact, most sexual assault is not due to sexual desire but due to a desire to overpower someone and assert control. Navigating Power Dynamics in Consent Although there is always a power differential in sexual encounters, there are steps we can take to try... […]

  • #TestIt Alert: Purple heart-shaped ecstasy tablet found to contain MDMA and N-Methylethylone in Charlotte, NC
    by Kristin Karas on 13 Maggio 2019 at 11:34

    A purple heart tablet submitted to was sold as Ecstasy/MDMA, but tested as MDMA and N-Methylethylone. The sample was both sourced in and submitted from Charlotte, NC. […]

  • DanceSafe Welcomes Two New Board Members to the Leadership Team!
    by Madalyn McElwain on 11 Aprile 2019 at 16:58

    By: DanceSafe Staff We are excited to announce the addition of two stellar individuals to the DanceSafe board of directors. Please help us welcome Jessica Breemen and Monique Chavez to the leadership team! Jessica is a multi-faceted practitioner with over 10 years experience coaching creative strategies, intelligent solutions, and continuous improvement to complex problems with individuals, teams, and communities through servant leadership. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice & Criminology and will graduate with her Master of Social Work (MSW) in 2020. Her research has focused on criminal justice and drug policy reform, as well as full spectrum harm reduction. Jessica interned with DanceSafe National during her 2017-2018 school year and is currently a Scrum Master in the IT department of a state government agency. Monique comes to DanceSafe with over 16 years of experience in harm reduction, event production, project management and anything legal. Born and raised in Albuquerque, NM, Monique is a two-time graduate from the University of New Mexico, earning both a BS in Biology and a Juris Doctor. Monique’s passion for drug policy reform grew from her early experiences in the New Mexico nightlife community, as the former co-founder of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, through an internship with the Drug Policy Alliance, and as the former founding director of New Mexico NORML. Monique is passionate about providing honest and open drug education and awareness to the general public, where the stigma of drug use is still unscathed. With the combined experience of Jessica and Monique, our organization will only continue to reach new heights, and we couldn’t be more excited about their addition to our board of directors! […]

  • #TestIt Alert: Counterfeit pharmaceutical pill sold as Roxicodone (oxycodone) tests as fentanyl
    by Kristin Karas on 4 Aprile 2019 at 0:26

    By: DanceSafe Staff According to, a round, blue tablet resembling a pharmaceutical pill was sourced in Houston as Roxicodone (oxycodone) but tested positive for fentanyl. No oxycodone was present in the sample. The pressed pill has a ‘V’ marking on one side with ‘48 | 12’ and a score line on the reverse side. The pill was submitted to from Dallas, TX. The sample did not react with reagents (meaning there was no color change). The sender notes that they are “unsure if [the sample] is active,” but that they thought it was. This information indicates that the fentanyl is potentially unevenly distributed within the batch. Fentanyl is active at low doses, and because the pill tested positive for fentanyl, it is likely that the fentanyl was mixed unevenly in the batch. This uneven adulteration is what DanceSafe calls “the chocolate chip cookie effect.” This illustrates why it is important to test the entire pill or bag when testing for fentanyl–one side of the pill (or baggie) can contain no fentanyl at all, while powder from the other side of the pill could contain a dose strong enough for overdose. We urge our community to keep in mind that drug markets are expansive and that this counterfeit Roxicodone pill may appear in places other than its source and submission location. Test before you ingest to avoid taking misrepresented substances, and so you can adjust your intention, set, and setting appropriately to minimize risks. You can purchase fentanyl test strips here. The purpose of #TestIt Alerts is to alert the public to misrepresented substances circulating in their region. We neither condemn nor condone drug use, but rather want people to be aware of what they are ingesting so they can take steps to minimize risks. Since 1998, DanceSafe has been keeping the electronic music and nightlife communities safe. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, we provide free harm reduction services at music festivals and nightlife events across the nation. All proceeds from the sales of our drug checking kits go back into the organization so we can continue to provide our services to our communities for free. By purchasing a kit, you are not only helping keep you and your friends safe, you are also contributing to the harm reduction movement. Thank you for your support! […]

  • #TestIt Alert: Pink & yellow crystalline powder sold as MDMA in New York City tests as new substituted cathinone BMDP
    by Kristin Karas on 19 Marzo 2019 at 18:20

    A pink and yellow crystalline powder contained in aluminum foil was submitted to from New York, NY. The substance was sourced as MDMA but tested as a research cathinone referred to as “BMDP” (3,4-Methylenedioxy-N-benzylcathinone). […]

  • DanceSafe Spring Auction and Giveaway is Here – Win Tickets to SOLD OUT Shpongle at Red Rocks, Limited Edition Signed Blotter Art, Pin Packs and More!
    by Mitchell Gomez on 15 Marzo 2019 at 2:05

    Support a great cause and win amazing prizes! Every year DanceSafe sets up at hundreds of events, large and small, to provide our life-saving harm reduction services. To help raise funds for our 2019 outreach season, we’re hosting our Spring 2019 Auction & Giveaway. We have created some unbelievable prize-packs, with bundled packages worth thousands of dollars that will be auctioned on eBay with no reserve starting tonight at 8 PM PST / 9 PM MST / 11 PM EST! […]

  • #TestIt Alert: Two different blue, speckled ecstasy tablets sourced in ABQ test as amphetamines
    by Madalyn McElwain on 13 Marzo 2019 at 22:27

    DanceSafe has received information from a community member about two different pills that were sold as ecstasy/MDMA, but tested as amphetamines. One of the tablets is a “Superman” pill, pressed into the shape of a rectangular ‘S’ and the other is a round ‘lightning bolt’ tablet that is slightly convex on one side and flat on the other. […]

  • #TestIt Alert: ‘Pink Chanel’ tablet in Chicago area tests as N-Ethylpentylone, MDA, and more
    by Madalyn McElwain on 4 Marzo 2019 at 23:27

    According to this submission published on February 28, a crushed red/orange/brown pill was sourced as a ‘Pink Chanel’ ecstasy tablet in Chicago but tested as MDA, N-Ethylpentylone, and more. […]

  • #TestIt Alert: Misrepresented ‘Beatles Blotter’ Sold as 2C-B in Saskatchewan, Canada
    by Madalyn McElwain on 27 Febbraio 2019 at 22:08

    DanceSafe has received information from a community member in Saskatchewan, located in Central Canada, about ‘Beatles blotter’ that was sold as 2C-B. According to the individual, the blotter had “a metallic taste that stung the tongue.” A half tab was ingested and it made the individual groggy, but there weren’t any “distinguishing visuals.” The blotter was not tested with reagents. […]

  • #TestIt Alert: Naphthalene (moth balls) sold as MDMA in ‘East Canada’
    by Kristin Karas on 20 Febbraio 2019 at 21:12

    According to an submission, a brown, crystalline powder sourced as MDMA in “East Canada” tested as Naphthalene, a chemical used in insecticides, surface active agents and resins, and as a dye intermediate, synthetic tanning agent, and moth balls. […]