By ZAG Awwad
On October 10 at The Triple Door in Downtown Seattle, the sixth annual Music Safety Summit (MSS 6.0) took place. They had music scene and nightlife professionals ready to share their insight on research and work that they do regarding a myriad of topics, from venue security and cooperation with local emergency personnel to global drug trends relating to concert attendees.
It started with a short opening speech from Kate Becker, Creative Economy Strategist with King County, highlighting the progress that the city has made towards achieving the summit’s goals since it started 6 years ago. She then introduced King County Executive Dow Constantine to the stage. He gave a short speech about the Seattle area’s latest epidemic, fentanyl, and how the region is learning to respond to overdoses. He then passed the mic to Brad Finegood, a Strategic Advisor at Public Health – Seattle & King County. He mentioned many points regarding fentanyl usage and tips to harm reduction that is good to share with the public.
- One cannot smell or taste fentanyl
- Counterfeit pressed pills containing fentanyl may look like normal prescription pills.
- Call 911 if you witness an overdose, Good Samaritan law won’t persecute you or who you’re with.
- Avoid Mixing drugs with other drugs or Alcohol.
- Get ahold of Narcan if possible, as it can be administered on the spot and can save someone’s life if they overdose.
- Wearerecoveryhelpline.org (for treatment)
Next up was Dr. Adam Winstock who came all the way from London to talk about his research as founder and director of the Global Drug Survey, the world’s biggest annual survey of drug use trends. He had a slideshow of different drug and alcohol use trends around the world, with many parameters accounted for during his research, including age, sex, country, and whether first time consuming it was spontaneous or due to peer pressure. These are his most important and notable points.
- Alcohol is a drug and is supposed to be treated like one.
- Media is all about dehumanizing and judging people who are addicted to drugs.
- This stigma delays people from seeking help.
- Tough drug laws cause harm and don’t stop people from using drugs and it costs the economy billions.
- Lawmakers must make sure new drug laws put public health above profit.
- Poorer, marginalized people are more likely to consume synthetic drugs than affluent people due to them being cheaper. (Spice vs Cannabis)
Focusing more on the hearing consequences of attending music events, Allison Coffin, Ph.D. at WSU Vancouver came to talk about hearing-loss research that she’s been conducting on zebra fish. Zebra fish can regenerate their hearing when their hair cells get damaged from loud noises, and her research is looking into developing a medicine that can help protect people’s ears after being subjected to loud noises for an extended period. Her research shows that the trials have been successful so far and she’s planning on starting mammalian trials soon.
Other segments in this summit included three panel discussions around safety at music events, from ingress, egress, and venue evacuation, to whether we should legislate EDM event safety. They talked about different measures that need to be taken to ensure that show goers are safe from any harm, and also what the future of venue security looks like.
Most notable ideas that were pitched during the conversations:
- Heat-sensor cameras that can detect if someone has abnormal body heat and needs immediate treatment at a concert.
- Resting areas at concerts for people who exhausted themselves and need a breather.
- Providing “Amnesty boxes” at every venue/festival so people have the option to get rid of their drugs if they’re concerned about their well-being.
All the speakers at this event, coming from all walks of life, both based in Seattle and outside, had a common vision in mind when curating MSS 6.0: public safety, health and wellness, and raising awareness on best practices in our music and entertainment scene.
The event was produced by King County and USC Events, with support from The Message, Conscious Crew, and the Office of Film + Music.