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

Latest version of key advice for everyone who works in pubs, clubs and at festivals on how to manage drugs safely.

Drugs are, of course, illegal but they are also commonly used by a sizeable minority of ordinary people who go out to pubs and clubs or to music events.

Whether you manage a club or organise a festival, work on the door, serve drinks or are involved in regulating this part of the economy as a licensing officer, police officer or fire officer, it’s important to keep up with the latest information and advice on best practice to minimise the risks associated with drug use and going out.

New and updated

Safer Nightlife is the fourth version of this advice produced by the London Drug and Alcohol Policy Forum since 1996. Things have changed a lot over the last two decades; there are new drugs, legislation has changed, there is a completely new licensing system not to mention the changes wrought by the new digital economy and social media. This version of Safer Nightlife reflects these changes and has an increased focus on drug safety at festivals, of which there are now more than a thousand every year, compared to just 300 five years ago.

Safer Nightlife brings together best practice on keeping people who use drugs and go out safe and makes it as simple as possible for everyone involved to know their role and responsibilities.

Managing drugs safely

Of course, it’s not possible to get things right all the time. People will have bad experiences with drugs on nights out, a very small number will, sadly, even die as a result. But Safer Nightlife’s mission is to make these tragic events as rare as possible. On this site you can find a wide range of resources in easy to digest formats; everything from the key contents of a drug policy to what to do in a drug-induced medical emergency.

In particular, Safer Nightlife provides a common ground for the professionals regulating the entertainment business and the organisations providing it, helping them to work together to ensure that as many people as possible have an enjoyable and safe time going out.



Skip to content