Emergency Info

Guidelines on when to call the Emergency Services 999 for unwell recreational drug users

Call 999 if ANY one of the following is present:

Unconsciousness – if the patient does not respond to vocal commands, requires painful stimulus (e.g. pressure across the fingernails) to respond or does not respond at all.

Significant agitation (e.g. pacing around the room) or aggression not settling within 15 minutes.

Seizures (e.g. a convulsion similar to an epileptic fit)

Breathing difficulties such as fast breathing rate which does not settle within 15 minutes.

Heart rate over 140 beats per minute not settling within 5 minutes.

Temperature over 38.5 not settling after about 5 minutes of rest, or if very flushed and feels very hot if no thermometer is available.

Blood pressure – Systolic (“upper pressure”) over 180mmHg, or Diastolic (“lower pressure”) over 110mmHg on two repeated blood pressure measurements.

Other concerns – if there are any other concerns (e.g. severe headache, chest pain).

 
IF IN DOUBT CALL 999

Download as a PDF

This section includes basic information on a range of drugs and the main issues for people working in pubs, clubs and festivals

Safer Nightlife does not provide detailed information on the health risks of different substances since the most important information for those involved in running pubs, clubs and festivals is to take the prompt action detailed in the “What to do in an emergency section” .

However, there is still some value in understanding the main risks associated with the substances most commonly used by people going for a night out.

Below is a list of substances in the order of their popularity amongst pub and club goers.  It can be downloaded in table form here.

cannabis resin and spliffs

MAIN EFFECTS

Relaxant & hallucinogen

SHORT TERM DOWNSIDES

Anxiety & paranoia

LONG TERM RISKS

Smoking-related health risks and mental health problems, especially schizophrenia

KEY INFORMATION FOR PUBS CLUBS AND FESTIVALS

People may get paranoid and need reassurance.

bag of cocaine

MAIN EFFECTS

Stimulant

SHORT TERM DOWNSIDES

Anxiety & paranoia. Risk of seizures.

LONG TERM RISKS

Strain on heart, passing blood-borne infections if sharing straws/notes.

KEY INFORMATION FOR PUBS CLUBS AND FESTIVALS

Ensure easy availability of drinking water and ventilation/cooling of premises.

ecstasy/mdma tablets

MAIN EFFECTS

Stimulant and mood changer

SHORT TERM DOWNSIDES

Dehydration and heatstroke. Risk of seizures.

LONG TERM RISKS

Suppressed immune system, memory problems and possible organ damage.

KEY INFORMATION FOR PUBS CLUBS AND FESTIVALS

Ensure easy availability of drinking water and ventilation/cooling of premises.

GBL

MAIN EFFECTS

Similar to alcohol in lower doses.

SHORT TERM DOWNSIDES

Risk of overdose, vulnerability to sexual assault.

LONG TERM RISKS

Risk of addiction.

KEY INFORMATION FOR PUBS CLUBS AND FESTIVALS

People in a GHB-induced coma need urgent hospital assessment.

ketamine

MAIN EFFECTS

Disassociation and hallucinogen. Anaesthetic.

SHORT TERM DOWNSIDES

Vomiting, accidents, vulnerability to sexual assault or theft. May be unaware of sustaining injury.

LONG TERM RISKS

Bladder damage, psychosis.

KEY INFORMATION FOR PUBS CLUBS AND FESTIVALS

Safeguard people heavily affected to prevent them being robbed or sexually assaulted.

LSD

LSD

MAIN EFFECTS

Powerful hallucinogen

SHORT TERM DOWNSIDES

Bad trips, accidents.

LONG TERM RISKS

Flashbacks.

KEY INFORMATION FOR PUBS CLUBS AND FESTIVALS

People can become distressed and need calm reassurance for prolonged periods.

magic mushtrooms

MAIN EFFECTS

Powerful hallucinogen

SHORT TERM DOWNSIDES

Bad trips, accidents.

LONG TERM RISKS

Flashbacks.

KEY INFORMATION FOR PUBS CLUBS AND FESTIVALS

People can become distressed and need calm reassurance for prolonged periods.

nitrous oxide cannisters

MAIN EFFECTS

Hallucinogen

SHORT TERM DOWNSIDES

Risks of suffocation if not using a balloon

LONG TERM RISKS

Tinnitus and spasms in arms and legs

KEY INFORMATION FOR PUBS CLUBS AND FESTIVALS

In rare cases, people can become unconscious and require medical attention.

poppers

MAIN EFFECTS

Head-rush, euphoria

SHORT TERM DOWNSIDES

Headache

LONG TERM RISKS

Blurred vision from eye damage

KEY INFORMATION FOR PUBS CLUBS AND FESTIVALS

Very toxic if swallowed

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