Party keepers: a significant community-based intervention for harm reduction

Roy Zucker, Zohar Mor, Anuar Abudin, Glen Davis, Hansel Arroyo, Gal Wagner Kolasko, Dan Arad, Guy Shilo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Gay men use recreational drugs more often than heterosexuals—especially at social events. While partying at a venue, partygoers are at risk of drug overdosing, without access to an emergency help. This study evaluates a unique and novel intervention aimed at training men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender individuals who frequent parties, to provide immediate assistance on-site to partygoers who have overdosed. Methods: The Party Keepers (PK) course is a unique 4-h training course that provides the participants with tools to identify, prevent, and treat common medical syndromes that are associated with excessive substance use. Participants were asked to complete a questionnaire on their sociodemographic attributes; their sexual risk behaviour; pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) use and drug-use behaviour before and after the course; and the emergency situations they encountered in party venues after the course. Results: Of the 85 participants who completed the training and left valid contact information, 52 (62%) completed the questionnaires. Their average age was 37.0 years, most lived in Tel-Aviv, and were single. Participants reported that, after the course, they reduced their own use of recreational drugs (cocaine, amyl nitrates, alcohol), reduced their sexual risk behaviours, and significantly increased their use of PrEP. Of all the PKs, 63% (N = 32) indicated that they now provided first-aid and other assistance to partygoers at public venues, which enhanced their sense of community responsibility. In the multivariate analysis, a high level of confidence as a PK, and the knowledge gained in the course, predicted the incidence of subsequent assistance to partygoers in emergency situations. Conclusions: The PK initiative—a harm-reduction intervention led by peers, aimed at fighting drug overdosing at gay venues—was useful in reducing drug use and sexual risk behaviours among the course participants. Most course participants also responded to drug-related emergency situations at gay parties, as a result. This evaluation of community health intervention within a sexual minority community can help health policy makers design more community based interventions and allocate resources to include community participants in harm-reduction policies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number26
JournalIsrael Journal of Health Policy Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Drugs
  • Harm reduction
  • Israel
  • Men who have sex with men


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