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Staying as safe as you can

Taking drugs always has some risks.

If you are going to use substances here are some tips to reduce harm.

Know your dealer

Try to stick to a regular, trusted dealer. Ask them questions about strength and purity. They will hopefully let you know if it is stronger than usual. If purchasing from a friend or acquaintance asses if they have taken the product and how it affected them.

Avoid mixing drugs

Mixing drugs happens a lot but is dangerous. This is because while it might increase the enjoyable effects of the substances there can also be unexpected and risky side effects because of how the drugs react to each other, your body and your brain.

Start low, go slow

Wait before you re-dose. Most drugs take a while to peak. If it is a new substance or is different to what you thought it may take longer than expected for the effects to come on. Wait at least 1.5 to 2 hours. Starting with a low amount, and slowly increasing the amount you take (i.e. titrating your dose) means you can test to see what kind of affect the drug will have on you before you have taken a full dose or too much.

Stay around friends

Use somewhere safe and familiar and never use alone. If you are partying and taking drugs, stay close to your friends. Drugs like GHB, which can nearly knock you out, can increase your risk of being assaulted.

Overdoses can often lead to death because nobody is there to call for help or look after you when you pass out.

Try to keep your phone charged and easy to access so you can call for help if you need to.

Have a plan

Before you get started decide how much you want to take and let someone you trust know what you are doing (if you can).

Learn as much as you can about the rug you are going to use

Understanding the effects (good and bad) can help you know what to expect and when you need help.

Always start with a lower dose than you think you need

Measure and test your dose, be aware of what effects are the result of a higher dose. Just a little too much can change your experience from fun to dangerous and scary. Understanding and sticking to safe amounts can reduce your risk of overdose too.

If it is the first time you have used the substance be extra careful and take a small amount to start. Also don’t take something new when you have other drugs in your system or when you are coming down.

If something goes wrong – GET HELP. Call someone you trust or if it is an emergency call 000.

How to leave

Before you go out work out how to get home. Who can you call or where you can go if you need to get out of a situation?

Also, having some cash and your phone charged is useful if you need to quickly catch an uber or call for help.

Don’t do more risky things

Avoid activities that need co-ordination and focus, especially things like swimming and driving. This will help keep you and other people safer.

Use the right tools in the right way

If you are going to take drugs make sure you know how they are taken and how they will affect you.

Use the right tools and make sure they are clean. Don’t share if you can avoid it

Websites to check out when trying a new substance

Check out these websites for information on reducing risks and health consequences