Presenting author: Carolina Ahumada
Presenting author biography:
Sociologist based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Program coordinator at PAF! Proyecto de Atención en Fiestas and project manager at Youth RISE
Feel Good Inc. Drugs, youth and nightlife from an intersectional perspective
Carolina Ahumada, Pablo Cymerman, Juan Martin Belvedere, Aarón Gordin, Jorgelina Di Iorio
When we think of harm reduction, examples such as needle and syringe programs or safe consumption rooms come to mind. In contrast to the traditional hegemonic approach, harm reduction organizations from the global south have been working from a full spectrum, or as we like to call it "cross spectrum", since harm reduction interventions work intersectionally, putting gender, class, ethnicity and age to play. Nevertheless, practices associated with pleasure or recreational use of drugs are aimed only at middle-income sectors with a certain economic and cultural level. Something similar happens with promoting health and safety in nightlife.
Given the lack of drug policies that enable drug checking and the criminalization of people who use drugs in Argentina, PAF! Proyecto de Atención en Fiestas, a program that was born out of the demand of ravers in 2016, began to work with a variety of actions to ensure access to services and harm reduction for a variety of people. Some examples are: Interventions with young adults from economically disadvantaged sectors installing a healthy bar with mocktails to raise awareness about the responsible use of alcohol, setting up a lounge and chill out space in a massive rave, drug checking in underground parties, the elaboration of materials and delivery of health kits associated with chemsex practices and actions with seniors high school students with glasses simulating drunkenness and placemats with messages about sexual and reproductive health and safer night practices when going on their graduation trip.
From an intersectional perspective, PAF is presented as a peer-led program that promotes care related to recreational drug use. Recognizing that harm reduction has an instrumental dimension, but also an ethical-political component, is based on the recognition of the right to feel pleasure associated with drug use, without class, gender and age differences increasing vulnerability and stigma.