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).


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The role of local authority licensing officers is to take the lead in ensuring that pubs, clubs and festivals are organised and run in a way that maximises the safety of customers and staff. They are responsible for monitoring the way that premises are run and enforcing compliance with the law

Key activities of licencing officers

These include:

  • Providing clear information on how to apply for licences under the provisions of the 2003 Licensing Act,
  • Advising venue owners and festival operators on how to establish and maintain a safe environment,
  • Ensuring that sufficient medical and welfare staff are always present and are trained to a high standard. See Dealing with drug-induced problems,
  • Liaising with police licensing and other officers to ensure good communication about potentially dangerous premises,
  • Encouraging venues to develop a drug policy,
  • Monitoring the operation of pubs and clubs and festivals at times of peak occupancy,
  • Ensuring that door supervisors are licensed, wearing their identification at all times and are operating responsibly,
  • Sharing information and good practice with partners, highlighting premises with potential problems.

It is good practice for licensing officers, fire officers, and their colleagues from the police services to co-ordinate their relevant work and enforcement efforts and to ensure that pubs, clubs and festivals playing music that is attractive to people who may take drugs as part of their night out, receive appropriate inspection visits. The risks of harm, and ultimately of fatalities, are highest at such premises.

You can also find a compendium of other useful resources in Helpful organisations which includes contact details for useful organisations, training providers and a whole host of specialist advice and information sources, many of them online.

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