Dance party guidelines formed

Nelson Mail, 7 July 1999

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A Nelson-based group investigating drug use at dance parties like the Gathering hopes recommendations from its report will be adopted nationwide.

Members of Health Action spent May canvassing the views of dance party patrons and promoters to find out what practices were used in the national dance party scene, and what else could be done. The group canvassed the opinions of patrons and promoters over the Internet, and also talked with these groups in Wellington and Dunedin. The group was commissioned to write the report by the Ministry of Health as part of its National Drug Policy.

Health promoter Jose Cachemaille said the report aimed "to produce material with dance party promoters which they can use as a guide for running safer dance parties, and also to develop drug information resources such as brochures and flyers for the people attending the events".

"There was a real need to increase promoters' awareness that they have a duty of care to provide safe environments for people attending these events," she said.

Ms Cachemaille worked as a promoter for the Gathering for two years. During that time she developed safety and information systems that were still used at the New Year's Eve party, she said.

Ms Cachemaille said the group had recommended that promoters should provide first aid at events, and also offer plenty of water and a temperature-controlled environment to counter the effects of heat stroke. However, she also said dance party patrons needed to be aware of where they were going and the consequences of taking drugs.

"The recommendations also provided information on how to take care of yourself and your mate. It is important that people who choose to take drugs are prepared, and they need to know the facts about the drugs and the risks they are taking."

Ms Cachemaille said the study's recommendations had been sent to the Ministry of Health, and promoters would be given the opportunity to make submissions on them. She expected the final guidelines to be available for promoters by September and for patrons by the end of the year.

Catherine Hutton, Nelson Mail, 7 July 1999

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