Contemporary Drug Problems
School of Medical and Health Sciences
Background: There is limited research on the provision of harm reduction services to people who use psychedelics. Little is known about provision of care to people consuming psychedelics outside of clinical trials. Methods: We investigated how people who used psychedelics discussed their preferences for care (or “trip sitting”) on two online forums: The Shroomery and DMT Nexus. A thematic analysis of the discussion was conducted to better understand consumer preferences for harm reduction services and resources. Results: We identified two key themes: experience and remote sitting. Forum participants valued trip sitters who had experienced psychedelic and other non-ordinary states of consciousness, who had knowledge of the health and medical industry, psychedelic literature and/or had previously cared for other psychedelic consumers. Forum participants also identified the value of consuming a psychedelic without somebody who was in their physical proximity, through communicating their plans to a remote trip sitter. The use of online tools was identified as a way to maximize the benefit of privacy while retaining carer benefits. Conclusion: Demand for trip sitters with lived psychedelic experience is likely influenced by stigma and empathy. Trip sitters who could relate to the effects of psychedelics assisted consumers in avoiding stigma while vulnerable under the effects of psychedelics. As such, psychedelic harm reduction services should be delivered by peers to ensure care maximizes the benefits of empathy. Psychedelic harm reduction services should consider how remote workers could be employed. There is a clear demand for remote psychedelic care services and to our knowledge this has not yet been explored.
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