Saving lives via music festivals
A local husband and wife are turning music lovers into lifesavers at festivals nationwide.
The big picture: South Siders William Perry and Ingela Travers-Hayward founded nonprofit This Must Be The Place this year with a goal of preventing drug overdoses through the arts.
- Their first project: distributing 10,000 doses of free naloxone nasal spray, which quickly reverses the effects of an opioid overdose.
Why it matters: Overdose deaths have soared to record highs nationwide, fueled by an influx of fentanyl.
- Over 100,000 people died from drug overdoses in the U.S. in 2021 — more than any other year on record, per the National Center for Health Statistics.
- More naloxone on hand means more chances to save a life.
What's happening: Perry and Travers-Hayward, along with their corgi mascot MarMar, have a booth at this weekend's WonderBus Music & Arts Festival. They'll have over 1,500 doses on hand to distribute for free.
- The two educate festival attendees on how to administer naloxone and spot overdose signs.
- Their nine-stop 2022 tour finishes at Burning Man in Nevada over Labor Day Weekend.
How it works: The nonprofit obtains reversal drugs through donations and health departments, including Ohio's Project DAWN.
- Their broader goal is to eliminate barriers like cost, transportation and stigma that might keep people from obtaining naloxone themselves from a pharmacy or health department.
Context: The mission strikes a personal chord with Perry, a rehabilitation counselor who overcame addiction and watched friends die from it.
- He now takes comfort in receiving messages from concertgoers who later reversed overdoses, including one who described reviving a stranger in a park.
What they're saying: "I couldn't do anything about those situations, but now I have the experience and the knowhow to help other people not have to go through it," Perry tells Axios.
- "It's our belief that everyone should be walking around with this stuff," Travers-Hayward says.
What's next: The hope is to someday expand This Must Be The Place to chapters nationwide.
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