Is a hot, sweaty, underground cave the best place to get wasted? Probably not, but if that's what you're doing . . .
The effects of any drug can be unpredictable. Much depends on what's in it, where you are, what mental/physical shape you're in, and how much you've taken.
Smart move: Restrict your mixing to the decks, or at the very least allow the effects of one drug to wear off before starting on another. It won't guarantee that things will go off as you'd hoped, of course, but it will give you a little more control.
Drink and drugs:
Mixing alcohol with other drugs is dangerous. Why? Because booze serves to slow down the nervous system (controlling heart and breathing rate). Combined with other depressant drugs, it could see the body shut down altogether.
Decide on drink or drugs before you step into the club. Neither option is risk-free, but you'd be doing yourself a big favour by choosing one instead of both.
- To avoid overheating and dehydration especially when dancing, users should take regular breaks and sip about a pint of non-alcoholic fluid such as fruit juice or isotonic sports drinks over the course of each hour. Don't misinterpret this to mean you can bosh back a pint in a second and then do it again sixty minutes later - it's the slow, steady fluid intake that matters here.
- Be aware that not all ecstasy tablets contain MDMA, and the effects may be unexpected.
- High doses can cause mild hallucinations and sensory distortions. Not always nice in a public place
- Smoking a joint when you've been drinking may cause nausea and vomiting. Not nice if you're dancing on the podium at the time, or underneath a stoned show off.
- Keep track of the amount used as tolerance quickly builds up.
- The more you take to get the same effect, so the risk increases of a hit your body may be unable to handle.
Poppers (alkyl nitrites):
- Alkyl nitrites reduce blood pressure. This makes it dangerous for people with anaemia, glaucoma, breathing or heart problems.
- Side effects of sniffing/inhaling poppers may include headaches, nausea, coughing, dizziness. In serious instances users may completely pass out.
- Be aware that there is no such thing as a guaranteed good trip, and ask yourself if a club environment is really where you want to be if it all goes pear-shaped.
- A bad trip can bring on feelings of paranoia, fear, panic and terror, creeping sensations and/or a lost sense of reality, often due to severe hallucinations.
- Ideally, make sure you're with someone who's in control (ie, not tripping) who can reassure you if things get weird, move you to a place that feels safe and secure and who is prepared to stay with you until the trip subsides.
Advice and support
Talk to Frank gives free information and advice about drugs. Call 0800 776600.
The charity Release gives advice on drugs and legal problems - their helpline number is 020 7749 4034.
Ask your GP - many areas have Community Drug Teams which provide a drop-in or phone information service.