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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A drug policy will only be effective if all staff have adequate and regular training. The drug policy should link in to a co-ordinated approach to training which also covers such key issues and procedures as security, dealing with drunkenness etc. The policy should contain details of the training expectations for the different groups of staff listed below.

Training for door supervisors

All door supervisors are required to be licensed. To attain their licence, candidates complete a compulsory training course which covers searching and drugs awareness. Details of relevant training are provided by the SIA.

Training for medical/welfare staff

This may be provided by one of the specialist organisations who provide medical and welfare services at festivals and clubs. Click here for details.

Training for cleaners

Cleaning staff should receive training in safe methods for the handling of any drugs and disposal of any drug paraphernalia found.

Training for all staff

BIIAB provides a Level 2 Award in Drugs Awareness for Licensed Hospitality Staff; this qualification is for anyone working in licensed premises who may be exposed to illegal drug activity and is designed to give the learner the knowledge and confidence they need to help prevent and deal effectively with any drug related problems. The training takes either one day or 10 guided learning hours.

In addition, staff training should cover the health and safety of staff in implementing the different requirements of the drug policy.


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