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Volunteers work to prevent fentanyl overdoses at music festivals

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) — As When We Were Young kicks off its second weekend in Las Vegas, volunteers will be there to help protect music festival-goers from fentanyl.

Volunteers will distribute fentanyl and Narcan test strips among the crowd and be on standby in case anyone needs help.

Nevada health officials have reported an increase in ER visits, overdoses and deaths from fentanyl, and are working to educate the public about resources to detect the substance and obtain Narcan to save a life.

“If it prevents even one overdose, then it’s worth it,” said volunteer Lily Wilson Rogers, who coordinates efforts in Nevada for Harm Reduction Circle.

“People think about having a good time. They are delighted with all the fun. You focus on living in the moment. You don’t think of anything that could go wrong,” said Wilson Rogers, who witnessed an overdose and has now sworn to always be prepared.

Health officials, along with volunteers from various harm reduction groups, have worked to educate the public about the presence of fentanyl in a variety of drugs, cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, pills street drugs and party drugs such as MDMA.

“I started this [organization] because I was just sick of seeing people go out and try to have a good time – and now their best friend is dead because they just weren’t wearing Narcan or testing the stuff,” said said founder Anastasia Rose Beal. Harm Reduction Circle has appeared at over 50 music festivals since its inception in 2020, when fentanyl first began creeping into party drugs on the West Coast.

Volunteers will wear black shirts with a pink logo reading “Harm Reduction Circle”. Anyone who needs tapes or Narcan can contact volunteers before the festival. Harm Reduction Circle can be reached by phone or text at (949) 659-8180.