In partnership with the ANKORS team, Shambhala Music Festival has announced that they have donated the final $10,000 needed for the purchase of a FTIR Spectrometer, an advanced drug checking technology that can detect many ingredients in one substance. The donation completed the GoFundMe campaign that ANKORS has been hosting for the past two years.
Shambhala Music Festival has long been a leader in harm reduction. One of the teams that has been essential to this mission is ANKORS, a not-for-profit organization that provides harm reduction services at music festivals through on-site drug testing and will be returning to Shambhala for the 16th year as the festival prepares for its 2018 edition from Aug. 10 to 13.
Their donation was in addition to the $32,000 that was raised by Shambhala guests through a ticket purchase donation option and other independent donations through GoFundMe. With better technology, ANKORS is able to give people who choose to use drugs more accurate information on the substances they might put in their bodies. This in turn reduces drug harm with attendees making more informative decisions.
“Shambhala has supported ANKORS in this fundraising effort to obtain an FTIR Spectrometer for our community and to use at Shambhala every step of the way,” says ANKORS drug checking co-ordinator Chloe Sage. “After two years we will finally see this instrument in action. I’m very excited to add the FTIR to our harm reduction service this year at Shambhala.”
Additional partners of ANKORS include Interior Health Medical Health Officer Dr. Silvina Mema, ASK Wellness of Kamloops, and the British Columbia Centre on Substance Use (BCCSU), who have been leading the evaluation of drug checking as a harm reduction service.
Results from a pilot study led by the BCCSU revealed that most substances on the street may not contain what people expected – 90 per cent of opioids and six per cent of stimulants tested positive for fentanyl. For this reason, it is imperative that Shambhala is using the most advanced technology.
As Shambhala Music Festival prepares to host its 21st anniversary edition next week, attendees will once again have the option to bring substances to the ANKORS booth and have them tested free of charge and without judgement. This will include the use of their new FTIR Spectrometer, allowing ANKORS to provide even more advanced drug testing than in the past.