This is an introduction to the work of the Psychedelically Aware group and The PATCH online community space. The community has been discussing how to make entheogen circles safer. With increasing media attention and clinical research, there are a lot more people entering the entheogen community. Some are seeking to self-treat conditions while others are curious to explore themselves in new ways. A response to the potential and actual harms reported was essential if we are to progress rather than attract negative attention.

This workshop covers how to safety plan for entheogens consumed within group settings including preparation, interaction risks, and contraindications. How differences in individual metabolism and physiology can factor into adverse reactions. Ways to care for yourself after an entheogenic experience. Considerations when choosing a facilitator and medicine you are interested in. Questions to ask and how to spot red flags that may mean a particular facilitator is not a good fit for you. What is considered appropriate behaviour by facilitators and what the responsibilities of participants are. Basics of mental health first aid and how to spot signs of a medical issue arising. The need for trauma-informed practices and harm minimisation to be incorporated into facilitation. Ways to bring accountability into underground facilitation. How we can contribute to a model of best practice, open-source code of ethics, and safety training. Conflict resolution and mediation when issues do arise and where to seek support. The problem with guruism and why there is a need for our community to address this culture. How to report harm or negligence if occurs. This project has been done in collaboration with other groups working in this space and aims to take a compassionate approach to harm minimisation.

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