Drugs and Me: Addressing the gap in unbiased and accurate drug education

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by Ivan Ezquerra-Romano
@drugsandmehub

If you chose to jump out of an airplane, you would wear a parachute. If you chose to have safe sex, you would use condoms. If you chose to ride a horse, you would wear a riding hat. If you chose to consume drugs, what would you do to stay safe?

Drug consumption is a recreational activity people have participated in throughout our history and the likelihood of this changing in the future is slim. However, in most countries, the current sociopolitical perspective on drugs is counterproductive and harmful for individual drug users. The existence of black markets paves the way for drug vendors to bulk substances with adulterants that may be toxic. This uncontrolled market also poses a risk because unlike with alcohol which is labelled so that we can easily gauge how much alcohol we consume by percentage, unlabelled products make it impossible for drug users to make informed decisions. On top of this, unbiased and accurate drug education is lacking in most countries around the globe, which leaves individuals that encounter drugs exposed to uncertain substances and risky behaviours.

After understanding this landscape and knowing about the number of drug-induced deaths, we decided that something had to be done. As such, we created an extremely pragmatic website where we not only provide useful, scientifically accurate and descriptive information on drugs but also key safety information for users.

What is Drugsand.me?

Drugsand.me is a non-profit organisation that provides educational interventions about drugs. It was founded by international students to fill in the gap of drug education in universities in the UK, but its scope has rapidly expanded to other countries and audiences such as parents. Whilst there is a vast amount of information on the internet, obtaining the right information can be extremely tricky if you are not familiar with the subject or some of the technical language. Therefore, the project started with the release of an informational website that teaches about existing drug harm reduction methods. The vision was to create comprehensive, objective, and easy-to-understand guides to help anyone stay safe when consuming drugs. For this purpose, we used our expertise in this field to bridge scientific journals, expert opinions and drug forum information to create our own guides.

Homepage of drugsand.me

Experienced users go to websites such as Erowid and Psychonautwiki,  but the depth and detail of information on these sites can be daunting for so-called ‘drug novices’. Additionally, its user interface is also difficult to navigate. Luckily, our talented graphic designer, Meaghan Li, created our current visually stimulating designs to help our audience to understand our safety information.

 

Interactive feature to identify potential unsafe interactions between two drugs                     

Our site also provides interactive tools such as our interactions chart to help people obtaining the information they need to stay safe. Thanks to our website and its tools, we are able to reach and educate a large number of people around the world every month. However, we value local and real-life interventions, since these can have the most profound and positive impact on individuals and communities. Therefore, drugsand.me has also conducted surveys to understand better the drug landscape in specific communities and workshops to educate children, university students, and parents. Stay tuned, we have more interesting educational interventions coming soon.

Drugsand.me profoundly believes education and honesty is the key to achieving a safer and more informed society resulting in reduced drug harm. In collaboration with great organisations such as The Beckley Foundation, Volteface and Drug Science, we want to empower people of all ages with the tools and knowledge to make their own informed decisions. We believe communities across the country should treat drug harm reduction in the same way as sex education, not something to shy away from but something to acknowledge and understand. Now you know what to do if you chose to take drugs: read drugsand.me, learn as much as you can, stay safe and… enjoy!

Get in touch!

Drugsand.me  is a non-profit service, founded by students who are passionate about harm reduction advocacy. We rely on your donations and support to improve the site and reach more people. If you support our work, please donate or become a patron at Patreon.

If you are interested in our work and would like to host workshops for a particular audience (eg parents, school and university children, etc), check our workshops page  and get in touch (contact@drugsand.me)

If you would like to provide feedback for the website, collaborate with us, contribute to an article, or send ideas and sources, please get in touch by emailing contact@drugsand.me

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