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



This section provides a template to help organisations develop their drug policy.

We do not provide a model drug policy for two reasons. First, each venue or organisation needs to develop a policy which is appropriate and relevant to itself, rather than adopting a generalised version (as you can imagine, a drug policy for a weekend festival would look very different to that for a small nightclub or pub). Secondly, the process of developing a policy is as important as the policy itself – the process enables managers and key staff members to consider carefully particular issues of concern and the best ways of their business responding to them.

The template, which can be examined below or downloaded as a PDF, sets out a structure for, and the key elements of, a drug policy to enable businesses to organise their thinking.

Before turning to the template, it should be emphasised that a drug policy is only one part of the response to managing drug-related incidents. Staff need good information, training, supervision and support to implement any policy. A good policy also ensures a safe working environment for staff.

A drug policy should be seen as a working document, continuously being amended and improved in response to new developments in drug use or health and safety legislation. It should be formally reviewed on an annual basis. The involvement of police and licensing officers in the development of a drug policy can greatly enhance its worth and also contributes to the strengthening of working relationships.


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