Founded in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1998 by Emanuel Sferios, DanceSafe quickly grew into a national organization with Chapters in cities across the U.S.
DanceSafe has two fundamental operating principles: harm reduction and peer-based, popular education. This means that we’re here to 1) reduce risks and maximize benefits around various human behaviors, and 2) support the development of individuals into peer educators. After all, this is bigger than us.
We’re known for offering drug checking services at raves and nightlife events across the U.S., along with non-judgmental information about drugs, sex, consent, and more. DanceSafe started the only publicly accessible drug checking laboratory in North America in 1998, which is now managed by Erowid at www.drugsdata.org.
- Our spaces are meant to serve as a safe haven for discussing drug use, health, and personal safety.
- We act as a nonjudgmental first point of contact when talking about risky or challenging situations.
- We support every individual’s ability to make informed, consensual decisions about their body and mind.
- We’re not an abstinence-based organization, although we fully support abstinence as a positive choice for many people. We believe in both risk reduction and benefit maximization.
Supplies & Resources
- DanceSafe’s event outreach services provide free condoms, earplugs, and information about all kinds of topics pertaining to health and safety. We distribute materials both digitally and in person. Note: We only provide drug checking services with the consent of the event promoter.
- We’re the only nonprofit drug checking kit manufacturer in America. We take pride in the thoroughness and accuracy of our instructional pamphlets and the quality of the materials we sell. Our reagents are made in-house in northern California.
- Our social media platforms and website hold a wealth of information to help demystify drugs, consent, sex, and other taboo topics around health.
- We keep tabs on information, other organizations, and other useful tidbits by compiling Resources for anyone to use.
- DanceSafe’s work is inherently political, with intersections in the prison industrial complex, racial justice, healthcare, poverty, LGBTQIA2S+ rights, and more. Put simply: If drugs weren’t criminalized, we wouldn’t exist.
- We’re directly involved in advocating for legalizing drug checking services across the U.S. through our TestIt Advocacy program.
- We’ve doubled down on our commitment to our social justice roots in recent years, and we’ve been making significant internal changes to the way our org functions as well as external changes to how we show up in our community. This is an ongoing process, and we’re learning as we go.
- We’re all about transparency, and we try to be as forthcoming as possible about who we are, what we do, and what our limitations are.
DanceSafe National is the central hub that oversees volunteer Chapters all over the country. National is a small team composed of staff, contractors, and the Board of Directors – we’re very tight-knit!