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


Medical/welfare provision

All medical/welfare staff should be clearly identifiable.

The provision of a separate quiet cool room/area is the single most useful facility to those providing the medical service. A great deal of work with users suffering the negative effects of drug use involves providing reassurance and support in a calm, cool environment. It is impossible to do this work on a crowded dance/venue floor. It is better for the sufferer, member of medical/welfare staff and other customers for care to be administered privately and discreetly. The room must be of sufficient size for the patient to be laid down.

Minimum essential medical equipment for such a room is:

  • One or more beds,
  • Glucose monitoring equipment,
  • Blood pressure monitors,
  • Drinking water,
  • Thermometer,
  • A clock or watch with a second hand (to take heart rates accurately).

A duty of care

On no account should anyone suffering from the ill effects of drug and/or alcohol use be thrown out of the premises or left alone unmonitored. This is because very serious health consequences can be missed. Even if a customer is assessed as not being in need of medical treatment, it is important that their friends are recruited to help them get home safely.

Perhaps the most important element of an effective drug welfare response is to establish a culture in which all members of staff are proactively looking out for customers in distress as a core part of their job and ensuring that they immediately notify medical/welfare staff.


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