“I want to force a change in the festival community where they can really no longer just disallow harm reduction,” Auctor told me. “I’m not even close to where I want to be… The change is going to happen if it kills me.”The Bunk Police’s efforts have largely been focused on electronic dance music (EDM) fests up until now, where they sell a variety of drug-checking kits so people can discern what they they’re snorting, popping, or ingesting in any other manner.“I do this because I feel like if I don’t, no one else will,” Auctor explained.It had been a relatively calm few days up until the fentanyl-laced coke was found at Gathering of the Juggalos, the annual festival that brings together thousands of Insane Clown Posse fans. This year, the four-day event was held in Ohio, one of the states with the highest drug overdose death rates in the country. That’s a motivating factor in why Auctor, who lives in Nebraska, traveled hours to the notorious event. “I’ve been threatening to do it for years,” Auctor said. “I finally made the decision because of the fentanyl epidemic in Ohio.”
“I do this because I feel like if I don’t, no one else will."
A Tight-Knit Community, an Anomaly
Interview with a Fentanyl-Laced Coke Dealer
Fentanyl and fentanyl analogues are extremely potent opioids. What that means is that even small amounts can cause an overdose. It’s many times more potent than heroin, easier to traffic, and massively profitable. Those without a tolerance to opioids—say, someone who only uses cocaine—are especially vulnerable to overdose when they ingest fentanyl. When fentanyl is found in another substance, such as cocaine, it is not necessarily evenly distributed. Just as is the case with making chocolate chip cookies, not every cookie has the same amount of chocolate in it; some will be loaded, and some will have only a couple of chips.
“I don’t want to fucking hurt anybody. I don’t want that on my conscience."
The Mythology of Dealers
The results Bunk Police yielded at the Gathering were different from what Auctor is used to seeing at EDM festivals. There, Auctor said he more often sees purported MDMA coming up as cathinones (also known as “bath salts”) and meth.“[Juggalos] watch out for each other,” Auctor said. “It’s a much tighter-knit community. There are fewer people here, and they’ve been coming out to this event for 10, 15 years, so it’s kind of like a family.”
“These are people too—everybody deserves to be able to make a safe choice if they can."