By Scott Douglas Jacobsen

According to the VUE Weekly, talked about the ongoing and increasing drug misuse and associated crimes at raves.

In early to middle June, the Edmonton Police Service (EPS) has been proposing a prohibition on the “concerts with ‘fast-paced’ electronic music.” EPS stated the gatherings create a strain on the EMS, the hospitals, and the EPS.

They argue the communities have a fallout too with drug misuse, disorder and then some furtherance of crime past the venues. With more crime and drug misuse, this is acknowledged as a problem.

However, the VUE Weekly considers this not the sole place, the raves, in which these occur. One reason may be the stigma around rave culture in general. The founder of Night Vision and the direct of the Alberta Electronic Music Committee, Andrew Williams, believes stigma is the issue.

The article states, “There’s a stigma around rave culture, as much as there was with rock ‘n roll culture in the 1960’s. The rave scene is often synonymous with drugs, purple dreadlocks, and lengthy conversations with a white dude with a Polynesian-style tattooed sleeve talking about the decline of the oil industry. Clearly, drugs are not a music problem; it’s a people problem.”

Williams talked about the city-wide problem and not particularly the rave music. It becomes a broad-brushing of the rave scene and, in turn, a mostly large-scale demonization of the young.

“Drugs are not located to one genre, it’s a city-wide problem,” Williams stated, “It’s incorrect to paint it all as ‘rave’ music, otherwise it just drives it underground; this was a ‘one-size-fits-all’ policy.”

This attempt by the EPS opens the conversation more on the nature of narcotics and electronic music in relation to the Edmonton community. The issue comes from the potential for further harm with punitive approaches against the young capitalizing on the stigma against the young and the drug and rave cultures.

Where there should more appropriately a stance on the implementation of harm reduction methodologies in the rave culture, Karmik, in British Columbia, is one such harm reduction oriented organization in British Columbia.

Harm reduction methodologies, which come from the philosophy, improve the safety and protect the wellbeing of both ravers and drug users.

“It’s important the decision comes from a collaborative approach,” Williams opined, “That it comes from the community, the harm reduction professionals, the promoters, and the artists. The long-term solution is a plan devised by all parties at the table.”

The music festivals and raves have been important and growing parts of advanced industrial societies’ cultures, especially for the young. One licensed practical nurse and founder of Indigo Harm Reduction Services, Shelby Young, explained the ways in which to deliver the harm reduction strategies have a prerequisite.

That pre-need is the health education. If we can advance the health education with harm reduction philosophy, we can improve the health and wellbeing of people who are involved in drug use and rave culture.

This seems to be a more evidenced-based approach than the moratorium on raves approach.

“The philosophy behind harm reduction is an acknowledgment that, yes, people will be experimenting with drugs, but rather than them hiding it, harm reduction strategies, like drug-testing facilities and safe spaces, will have them engage with their curiosity in a safe way,” the article stated.

Young talked about the provisions for the nightlife community with the harm reduction tents and the first-aid. The support from the provincial government can be an important element to all this.

The article concluded, “While the proposed moratorium created a stir, which eventually had city council deny the moratorium last week, sometimes it takes a bang to make a buck. Now, city council, EPS, and the electronic dance music community all have a seat at the table to discuss what can be done, rather than what won’t.”

Original publication in VUE Weekly.

Image Credit: Pixabay.

Scott Jacobsen

Scott Jacobsen


(Last Update: September 28, 2016)

Scott Douglas Jacobsen researches and presents independent panels, papers, and posters, and with varied research labs and groups, and part-time in landscaping (lifting, mowing, and raking) and gardening (digging, planting, and weeding). He is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. UCI Ethics Center awarded him with the distinction of Francisco Ayala Scholar (2014) for mentoring, presenting, researching, and writing. If you want to contact Scott, you may inquire or comment through e-mail:

He published in American Enterprise InstituteAnnaborgiaConatus NewsEarth Skin & EdenFresh Start Recovery CentreGordon Neighbourhood HouseHuffington PostIn-Sight: Independent Interview-Based JournalJolly DragonsKwantlen Polytechnic University Psychology DepartmentLa Petite MortLearning Analytics Research GroupLifespan Cognition Psychology LabLost in SamaraMarijuana Party of CanadaMomMandyNoesis: The Journal of the Mega SocietyPiece of MindProduction ModeSynapseTeenFinancialThe PeakThe UbysseyThe Voice MagazineTransformative DialoguesTreasure Box KidsTrusted Clothes.

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