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 pub and club owners and managers, and festival and event promoters is to ensure that all aspects of their venue are designed and run in ways which maximise the safety of customers.

Key activities of owners, managers and promoters

The key activities of owners, managers and promoters include:

  • Ensuring that all safety requirements of a venue are clearly understood by event promoters,
  • Developing a constructive working relationship with local licensing officers and police officers with licensing responsibilities,
  • Developing a venue drug policy in consultation with licensing and police officers,
  • Ensuring that all staff are aware of their responsibilities within the drug policy and that they receive training and support to discharge these fully,
  • Employing experienced and fully trained medical and welfare staff and providing adequate facilities for a treatment room. See Dealing with drug-induced problems,
  • Ensuring that all door supervisors hold SIA licences,
  • Providing free and easily accessible supplies of cold drinking water,
  • Considering the use of drug and sexual health outreach work, including integrating outreach workers into the staff team. See Reducing the harm from drug use,
  • Sharing intelligence on drug use and drug dealing with police officers and other local venues or festivals,
  • Informing customers of their rights and responsibilities, and encouraging their feedback on safety issues,
  • Ensuring that all staff are aware of the law and the responsibilities of the venue to work within it.

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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