Drugs, Safety, Society and Addiction in Art

TLDR; at GROUNDERS we acknowledge that drug use is common amongst young people, especially artists. With the upcoming August long weekend, and the numerous music festivals planned, we want to bring attention to the FENTANYL CRISIS occurring across Canada. If you choose to use drugs at a festival, or any time, make sure that you do it safely. Ensure that the provider is trustworthy, and test the drugs with a drug testing kit to ensure their purity.


This Fentanyl crisis is far from the first drug related epidemic in modern civilization. What sets this apart from the rest is both its current occurrence and its lack of publicity – particularly in the arts. I came to this realization while researching art from the 1800s for a research essay at OCAD. I found a piece by Eugene Grasset called  The Morphine Addict. This piece puts a spotlight on the morphine addiction affecting lower class women in France. Grasset’s manipulation of formal techniques in the lithograph made the piece aesthetically pleasing, and put the issue in the faces of the aristocracy, forcing them to acknowledge it.


We have no artists explicitly talking about the Fentanyl crisis. The public has very little exposure to the epidemic besides the occasional new story. And while this type of publicity is impactful, it isn’t the most effective way of communicating with the people that are most likely to be affected by it. Scare tactics and statistics tend to distance problems from reality because nobody thinks they will be the statistic. If popular, or even independent, artists were to discuss fentanyl laced drugs, whether it be in their work or through their social media, the impact would be much greater. As a media agency communicating art, we feel that it is our job to discuss this issue and make our readers aware. 

Cocaine, MDMA, and heroin are often cut with Fentanyl.

This year alone, FENTanyl was related to 72% of drug overdoses.

A Sand grain amount of fentanyl is enough to kill.

This year alone, over 1700 people have died as a result of fentanyl overdoses in British Columbia. Fentanyl is moving east with overdoses rapidly increasing in calgary and creeping into toronto. 

Naloxone (brand name Narcan) is a drug that inhibits the effects of an opioid overdose. If you will be using drugs, find tests and Naloxone kits in your area. These are usually free and available at hospitals and cops are often equipped with them.


Moral of the story: have fun, but be safe.