ID: HR23-942
Presenting author: Erica Franklin

Presenting author biography:

Erica Franklin has worked for NUAA's DanceWize NSW program since November 2017. She has previously worked for NDARC, KRC, MSIC, and NSPs. She graduated her honours degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice with distinction after completing her thesis on why people are motivated to take novel psychoactive substances.

Developing and implementing peer-led harm reduction and healthcare interventions at music festivals in New South Wales, Australia

Erica Franklin, Charles Henderson, Mary Harrod, Tim Powell, Jacinta Bourne
A substantial increase in drug-related harm was observed during the 2018−2019 music festival season in New South Wales (NSW), Australia, including the deaths of six young people. Dancewize NSW (DWNSW) provides peer-led and socially responsive service that reduce drug-associated harms and mitigate events’ risk environments.

Music festivals in NSW are regulated by the state’s Ministry of Health, requiring an approved Safety Management Plan (SMP) under the 2019 Music Festivals Act to take place. Music festivals requiring a SMP indicates that the festival is deemed higher-risk of drug-related harm by the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority.

DWNSW is a program of NUAA funded by the NSW MoH that utilizes a peer education model to provide on-site harm reduction, supervised care interventions, roving and drug education services at higher-risk events across NSW. Key Peer Educators undergo a standardized training that includes first aid, drug psychopharmacology, sexual health, and responding to overdose. Care interventions are delivered within an integrated reciprocal model of care with the on-site medical provider; education is delivered at a central location where patrons can access free education, resources and supplies; and Rovers identify and accompany patrons who may benefit from closer attention to a medical or peer-led intervention.

DW NSW has attended 62 events in 5 years (2017, n=4; 2018, n=13; 2019, n=19; 2020, n=8; 2021, n=6; 2022, n=8), ranging in size from 1,500 to 48,000 number of attendees. Since 2017, the program has trained 346 volunteers (mean age 29, 53% female). Across all events DWNSW has provided compassionate care interventions to 2,500 patrons in distress, rovers have engaged with 263,000 patrons, and KPEs have conducted 17,000 education session. DWNSW has developed state leading program that has excelled at delivering harm reduction that has exceed the requirements of a rapidly developing policy area.