Whether you are using drugs and alcohol at a bathhouse, dance club or bar, at a sex party, or at someone’s house, there are ways to be safer no matter what your substance/s of choice are… Just say know! Know your body, know your dealer, know your source.
Because different drugs affect different people in different ways. Body weight, food in the stomach, tolerance levels, your state of mind, and taking other medications already, all affect how drugs will work on you.
Most drugs dehydrate your body. Drink water or Gatorade® before, during and after you use. Energy drinks that have caffeine in them, like Redbull®, and alcohol dehydrate you further. Symptoms of dehydration include feeling hot, flushed, hungry, and headache-y. The more hydrated you are, the less intense your hang-over or crash will be.
Stimulant drugs like MDMA, cocaine and meth suppress your appetite but you still need to eat. Keep on hand Ensure®, Boost®, Gogurts® and other easy-to-swallow, nutritious calories when partying. This will reduce mood fluctuations when you crash, and lessen the intensity of your hangover. Be careful with food and some downers, like GHB and Ketamine, as both drugs can make you vomit when taken with food.
If you are trying a new drug, or a new batch of a drug you have used before, use a smaller-than-usual amount first, and see how it affects you. Potency and purity vary from batch-to-batch. Start with ½ a pill, half a line or small bump of powder and wait 30 minutes. If it hits you strong, wait until you take more. If you don’t feel anything, the substance you took might not be the drug you purchased.
Drink some water, take breaks from dance floors, stay out of saunas, and try to cool off. If you need to throw up, do it. Do not counteract a bad high (e.g. feeling too high from MDMA) by putting more drugs (like GHB to calm down). It could make things worse, and isn’t good harm reduction.
If you, or someone you are with, experience trouble breathing, or have chest pains, get help immediately or call 911. Under the Good Samaritan Act neither you, nor anyone within the immediate vicinity, can be prosecuted by police for calling to prevent an overdose!
Mixing drugs is never a good idea. Mixing uppers like MDMA, cocaine, meth, mephedrone and Redbull® together is hard on your heart and can cause you to overheat. Mixing downers together, like GHB, Ketamine, Poppers and Erectile Drugs can cause sudden losses in blood pressure, leading to passing out and hitting your head, or trouble breath. Mixing uppers with downers, like alcohol and cocaine, or ketamine and crystal sends mixed signals to your heart, and can exacerbate an overdose. If you must mix, stick to a small 1-to-1 ratio: 1 small line/bump with 1 pill, or 1 shot of liquid, and wait and see how you feel. in 30 minutes before taking more.
Most overdoses and bad drug experiences happen when people use alone. Make someone in your group be the Sober Sitter, also known as a Trip Sitter: the person who is the least fucked up, who can keep an eye on everyone. Make an agreement to stick together and check-in on each other throughout the night. Don’t let friends get into cabs by themselves or go home with people you don’t know, if they have been using. Do not leave each other alone, or loose each other in crowds. Keep checking in.
If you see someone passed out in a bar, club, bathhouse or sauna, get help! Don’t leave them there. They could be in serious trouble.
Drugs and alcohol change our ability to consent to sex and safer sex practices. Substances reduce our ability to remember or care about our safer sex strategies, and many substances increase the urgency for us to have sex right now! If you are fooling around with someone who seems sleepy, groggy or kind of out of it, make sure you keep checking in with them to see that they are awake and still into whatever sexual activity you are engaging in with them. Don’t have sex with people who are passed out in bathhouses, or who are incoherent. If you find people passed out or unresponsive in bathhouses, get help.
Talk with your dealer about the drugs you buy from them. Ask about other people’s reactions and experiences with whatever they sell you. Make sure you ask about Fentanyl and overdose experiences. Ask if your dealer has a drug testing kit for MDMA or cocaine. You can order testing kits, including Fentanyl testing kits through DanceSafe.org and Trip. Don’t take drugs you find randomly in clubs or bathrooms, or drugs which are given to you by people you just met.
Most MDMA and cocaine are adultered, or mixed with other ingredients, some of which may be toxic to you and cause a crappy high, or even make you sick.
You can get testing kits for:
Some red flags you might want to watch out for if you are worried about your frequency of use:
If you find yourself saying yes to some of these and are worried, there is help. Check out our group Spunk, or see an ACT counsellor. Click here to book an appointment or see the drop in schedule.