Stefanie Jones – Safer Partying and Harm Reduction

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During this episode of Psychedelics Today, your host Kyle Buller interviews Stefanie Jones, the Director of Audience Development at the Drug Policy Alliance.

  • There are risks and benefits to all drug use.
  • Ultimately, you don’t want your teenager to use drugs, but if they do, you want to keep them safe and give them the right information.
  • The festival community needs to be so much more aware of opioid overdose and drug checking.


Show Notes

  • About Stefanie Jones
    • In her role, she oversees communication and outreach to specific communities on drug use and drug policy topics.
    • Personally runs the DPA music fan program.
    • She works on the Safer Partying program which has four goals:
      • Ending stigma against people who use drugs at festivals, concerts, and clubs.
      • Amending the illicit drug anti-proliferation act – aka The Rave Act.
      • Making drug checking happen in as many places and forms as possible.
      • Stopping the criminalization of party-goers.
      • The DPA is launching a pilot study at a school in Brooklyn with more honest and accurate information about drugs.
    • She’s been working for the Drug Policy Alliance for almost 13 years.
      • Stefanie Jones develops materials that bring us closer to drug policy reform.
    • She works with two different audiences:
      • Parents and educators
      • Drug users at events and concerts.
  • Drug education for teenagers and parents goes back a long way at DPA.
    • Marsha Rosenbaum wrote a very famous letter to her son who was about to go into school.
      • She wrote a booklet called “Safety First.” A reality-based approach to teens and drugs.
    • Stefanie Jones put together a harm reduction-based curriculum to be taught in schools.

  • How does Safety First differ from DARE?
    • DARE is more of an abstinence-only policy and doesn’t talk about what happens if you do use drugs.
    • Safety First gives abstinence as an option but also gives options to reduce risk if you do choose to use drugs.
      • The program is designed for 14-year-olds, but it makes things like dose information tricky
      • The class introduces the concept of dose and dosage.
    • It talks about drug classes with a lesson specifically devoted to psychedelics.
      • They talk about reagent drug checking.
        • How this works and how it can help you reduce harm.
    • They’re about to do a pilot of Safety First in a school in New York.
      • The program is in multiple sessions- 14 sessions long.
  • How was pitching Safety First to the school?
    • They were open to it and looking for something different.
  • DPA wanted to put something together that’s not dependent on them, it will be taught by the health teacher.
    • She hopes it replaces DARE.
  • How do you think parents will take it?
    • The parents at Bard high school were very into it.
    • There was one parent who didn’t speak up in the meeting but came up to us afterwards.
    • Their curriculum wants to measure critical thinking skills, concrete strategies, etc.
  • Some drugs tend to have a lot of positive feelings around them.
    • For example, marijuana and psychedelics.
    • In the psychedelics lesson, they had to talk about the different kinds of mushrooms and what you need to know.
  • Which drug classes do you go over?
    • Depressants
    • Stimulants
    • Opioids
    • Psychedelics
    • Marijuana
  • There’s material that she uses at festivals that are great.
    • The tripsit chart
    • She started doing safer partying work first.
    • This community doesn’t get a lot of outreach, a lot of what they do isn’t problematic.
    • Stefanie Jones partners with Insomniac (EDC and other similar events)
      • The idea is to have a place where someone can get drug information and sexual information.
    • There are young people who are trained to walk the space and identify medical issues.
  • What’s one main concern you’ve been seeing in the festival scene?
    • With Project #OpenTalk, the kids are so young going to their first festival.
      • They’ve had little or crappy drug education.
    • The festival community needs to be so much more aware of opioid overdose and drug checking.
    • One of the goals is addressing the stigma around drug use.
    • Another goal is providing accurate, honest information regarding harm reduction.
    • The third goal is having drug checking available and accessible.
    • The fourth goal is around policy reform.
    • De-criminalizing drugs will fix a lot of problems.
  • DPA wants to create supervised consumption spaces along with drug checking.
  • How do you talk to parents about harm reduction?
    • The founder goes first to the issue of safety.
    • Ultimately, you don’t want your teenager to use drugs, but if they do, you want to keep them safe and give them the right information.
  • Is there anything exciting coming up with DPA?
    • Make revisions of the Safety-First program based on data.
    • Will be testing it in the fall with a school in the Bay area.
    • Hoping to expand information about psychedelics into the party arena.
    • Doing a week-long trip to Portugal to see what decriminalization works.
  • Any last thoughts to throw out?

Follow @musicfandpa on Twitter.

Resources Mentioned


Stefanie Jones

Stefanie Jones is director of audience development at the Drug Policy Alliance, based in New York. In this role she oversees communication and outreach to specific communities on drug use and drug policy topics, including on novel psychoactive substances (NPS) and DPA’s youth drug education work.  She personally runs the Music Fan program, which introduces harm reduction principles and drug policy alternatives to partygoers, public health officials and city nightlife regulators across the U.S.

In her prior role within the organization as an event manager, she produced four progressively larger editions of the biennial International Drug Policy Reform Conference, as well as numerous local policy conferences, fundraisers and coalition-building meetings.