We Need Your Help to Prevent Overdoses at Pride

Every year, the Twin Cities Pride Safety Team has one goal—to make sure that everyone is safe and has an enjoyable experience at Pride. We plan for the worst and hope for the best so that we can create a space where everyone can join together and celebrate their similarities and differences.

This year is no different, but we do have a particular concern that we need to address. The Twin Cities has experienced 170 drug overdoses and 17 deaths in just the past two weeks. We need everyone’s help this year to ensure we can keep those experiencing an overdose safe.

An overdose can occur the first time someone tries something, or it could occur on the 100th time, and there is no way to know until something happens. It is scary to witness an overdose and even scarier at times to consider needing to call for help. We know that there are a variety of reasons why someone may be hesitant to get help from someone in a uniform.

For 2019, the Twin Cities Pride Safety Team has partnered with several harm reduction teams in the community to have present those who are trained in the administration of Naloxone, also known by its brand name Narcan. These individuals are volunteers who care about the community and understand the need to quickly reverse an overdose. We also have the support of a team of safety coordinators who are part of our community and who volunteer their time for the entire weekend to help make sure that situations are responded to quickly and appropriately.

Our first line of defense in an overdose will be to utilize the harm reduction teams to administer naloxone, but in cases where additional care is needed, we will rely on our EMTs who have been working with us for the past six years. This team is conscious of the needs of our community and will act with compassion in every interaction.

In addition to the new partnership with the harm reduction teams, Twin Cities Pride has set up a text line (612-516-3036) and also a phone number (612-255-3265) you can contact for help (please save them in your phone beforehand). If you think someone is experiencing an overdose, please contact us as soon as possible so that we can get lifesaving treatment to them as quickly as possible. First aid tents can be found in the Purple and Green Zones as well.

Addiction has no limitations and does not care about race, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, socioeconomics, religion, disability, or any other classification that exists. For harm reduction services outside of the event, please contact Southside Harm Reduction at 612-615-9725. For additional help, please review this list of opioid resources from the City of Minneapolis.

Kristopher Ouellette is the Safety Manager for Twin Cities Pride.