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).


Download as a PDF


Getting home safely

It is natural for both businesses and licensing professionals to focus on safety at the dance event.

However, clubbers are particularly vulnerable on the way home where there is no-one designated to look out for them. The main risks are:

  • Customers driving home intoxicated through drink or drugs.
  • Customers leaving the event in need of medical help because of their level of intoxication.
  • Customers leaving the event in an intoxicated state and vulnerable to accident, assaults or other crimes.

Drink/drug driving

The dangers and illegality of driving with excess alcohol in the body are well known. However, driving when intoxicated by controlled drugs is at least as dangerous, as is driving when exhausted or hungover. On 2 March 2015 Section 5A of the Road Traffic Act 1988 came into force. For the first time the law prescribed upper limits for the level of specific controlled drugs in a driver’s blood, in the same way as we have a drink drive limit. The first year’s evaluation1 Risk Solutions & Centre for Public Health at Liverpool John Moores University (2017) Evaluation of the new drug driving legislation, one year after its introduction – a report for Department of Transport. analysed data from 24 police forces on 4,292 preliminary drug screening tests and found that 54% were positive for either cannabis, cocaine, or both.

Although many customers will now travel home by public transport or Uber (or other app based minicab hire services), venues should be sure to post information on reputable local taxi services and provide information about night buses or late night tube services.

Intoxicated customers leaving

Door supervisors, medical/welfare staff and all other staff should be vigilant about the welfare of customers leaving who seem seriously intoxicated, particularly if they are on their own. Such customers should be approached and offered the chance to see a First Aider or contact a family member or friend to pick them up and ensure they get home safely. Staff should ensure that customers have collected their coats and are adequately dressed for the season, overheated clubbers going home on cold evenings without adequate clothing may be at risk of hypothermia.

Safeguarding customers

It is also considered best practice to be proactive in safeguarding customers from unwanted sexual attention and possible assault. The #MeToo movement has made all members of society more aware of the prevalence of sexual predation. Responsible venues have a policy where intoxicated women going home with a man or group of men are discreetly approached to make sure that her companions are already known to her and trusted individuals who will ensure she gets home safely and not unknown people who may be intending to rob or sexually assault her. Similar precautions should be taken with male customers, especially at premises which specifically cater for Men Who Have Sex with Men.

It is important to train staff to be able to respond to customers who are experiencing unwanted attention. One such initiative is the Ask for Angela campaign which encourages customers who feel unsafe or threatened to talk to a member of staff and “Ask for Angela”, a codeword understood by staff who will contact security on the customer’s behalf. Posters giving information about the scheme are displayed in the toilets.


1 Risk Solutions & Centre for Public Health at Liverpool John Moores University (2017) Evaluation of the new drug driving legislation, one year after its introduction – a report for Department of Transport.


I consent to my name and email address being used to
send me news and updates from the Safer Nightlife

You can unsubscribe at any time.

Skip to content