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 are here to 1) reduce risks and maximize benefits around risky behavior, and 2) support individual people in becoming peer educators who meet people where they’re at to provide resources and community care.
We’re known for bringing adulterant screening (AKA “pill testing” or “drug checking”) to rave and nightlife communities in the U.S. We’re also known for distributing unbiased, factual, non-judgmental information about drugs, sex, and consent, and we started the only publicly accessible drug checking laboratory in North America, which is now managed by Erowid at www.drugsdata.org.
- Our spaces are a safe place to discuss drug use, health, and personal safety.
- We serve 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 some 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.
- We’re the only nonprofit drug checking kit manufacturer in the country. We take pride in the thoroughness and accuracy of our instruction pamphlets, as well as 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, LGBTQ+ rights, and more.
- 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, through internal changes in how our org functions as well as external changes in how we show up in our community. This is an ongoing process.
- 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 composed of staff, contractors, and the Board of Directors. We operate on a horizontal hierarchy, meaning that we work hard to reduce power structures by giving equal weight to the inputs and needs of all of our team members.