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In the News: Volunteers Work to Prevent Fentanyl Overdoses at Music Festivals

By Jaclyn Schultz Published: Oct. 28, 2022 at 9:44 PM PDT

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - As When We Were Young kicks off its second weekend in Las Vegas, volunteers will be there to help keep music festivalgoers safe from fentanyl. Volunteers will be handing out fentanyl test strips and Narcan among the crowds and will be on standby in case anyone needs aid.

Nevada health officials have reported a surge in emergency room visits, overdoses and deaths from fentanyl, and are working to inform the public about resources to detect the substance and obtain Narcan to save a life.

“If it prevents even maybe one overdose, then it’s more than worth it,” said volunteer Lily Wilson Rodgers, who coordinates efforts in Nevada for Harm Reduction Circle.

“People are thinking about having a good time. They’re excited about all of the fun. You’re focused on living in the moment. You’re not thinking about anything that could go wrong,” Lily Wilson Rogers said, who has witnessed an overdose, and now vowed to always be prepared.

Health officials, along with volunteers from various harm reduction groups, have been working to educate the public about the presence of fentanyl in a variety of drugs, from cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, street pills and party drugs such as MDMA.

“I started this [organization] because I was just tired of seeing people go out and try and have a good time-- and now their best friend passed away because they just didn’t carry Narcan or didn’t test the substance,” said founder Annastasia Rose Beal. Harm Reduction Circle has been to more than 50 music festivals since it was founded in 2020 when fentanyl started to creep into party drugs on the West Coast.

Volunteers will be wearing black shirts with a pink logo that states, “Harm Reduction Circle.” Anyone who needs strips or Narcan can contact volunteers before the festival. Harm Reduction Circle can be reached via phone call or text at (949) 659-8180.

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