In the lead up to the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade, NSW’s leading LGBTQ health organisation ACON has launched a digital campaign to support revellers in managing their substance use and in reducing harms associated with drugs and alcohol.
The campaign, to be rolled out across various social media platforms, highlights the effects of the drugs GHB and MDMA, and offers strategies to prevent overdoses. The campaign features two videos – Avoid the Drop Zone and Avoid an Overdose on MDMA – and is supported by a suite of resources. Further information and support on alcohol and other drugs use are available on ACON’s online substance support resource Pivot Point (www.pivotpoint.org.au).
ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill said the campaign aims to raise awareness on safety and care when using drugs.
“While we know that most LGBTQ people who use alcohol and other drugs do so in a non-problematic way, some experience significant harms related to their use. With Mardi Gras upon us, it’s important our communities are aware of the risks relating to their consumption of drugs, and the strategies to prevent GHB and MDMA-related overdoses,” Mr Parkhill said.
“Helping our communities minimise the risks of harm requires targeted messages, and this campaign, along with our other substance support resources, will help LGBTQ people get the information and support they need to keep themselves and their partners safe.”
As well as the videos, the campaign will include digital messaging featuring harm-reduction tips which will be shared on ACON’s social media channels and various dating apps. Campaign posters will also be featured in key party venues throughout Sydney.
“There are often new drugs emerging and drugs all have different strengths,” Mr Parkhill said. “It’s vital you tell someone you trust what you’ve taken, and to get help immediately if it’s needed.”
Revellers at several LGBTQ events over the Mardi Grs weekend can also seek support from ACON Rovers, teams of specially trained health promotion volunteers.
“The Rovers are a much-loved and recognised presence at LGBTI community dance events in NSW and represent a unique and innovative response to party and drug-related harms,” Mr Parkhill said. “Rovers play an important role in providing health, alcohol and drug information and support to partygoers, and assisting those needing medical assistance easily access on-site services.”
ACON Rovers will be at the Mardi Gras Party, Candyland, Apollo, Laneway and the Mardi Gras Weekender at the Ivy Pool.
“Look out for the volunteers dressed in fluoro-pink vests checking on the health and wellbeing of partygoers. We are very grateful to our Rovers volunteers who provide this invaluable service,” Mr Parkhill said.
The social media campaign has been made possible with funding from the NSW Ministry of Health.
For more information please contact: David Alexander, ACON Media and Communications
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