Staying Safe
Usage Tips

Bad reactions

This is a guide only – know more, be safer

Staying Safe

Bad reactions and drug-related emergencies

If you or your mates are going to use drugs or alcohol, know what to look out for if things go wrong.

Different drugs carry different risks. Mixing different drugs or mixing drugs with alcohol can increase these risks.

Recognise the signs. Know how to respond. This could save a life.‍

Staying Safe

Signs of overdose

A drug overdose is a medical emergency. 

If you or someone you’re with has any of the symptoms below, call triple zero (000) immediately.

Difficulty breathing

Loss of consciousness

Blue lips or nails

Choking or gurgling sounds

Cool or clammy skin

Pupils look like pinpoints

Staying Safe
Staying Safe

How to respond

  • Call triple zero 000
  • If they’re unconscious, lay them on their side in the recovery position
  • Don’t leave them alone
  • If they’ve taken opioids, and you have access to Naloxone, use it
  • Tell the paramedics what drug/s they’ve had. Paramedics are there to help and will not involve the police.
Staying Safe

Other signs and responses

If a person gets really drowsy (one of the risks with alcohol, heroin or tranquilisers):

  • Call triple zero 000
  • Try to keep them awake
  • Lay them on their side (recovery position) and keep talking to them
  • Don’t try to ‘wake them up’ with coffee, shaking or shouting

If a person gets tense, anxious or panicky (one of the risks with speed, ice, MDMA, LSD/acid and magic mushrooms):

  • Talk to them calmly
  • Reassure them and explain the feelings will pass
  • Take them to a quieter place away from bright lights, loud music and crowds
  • Encourage them to take long, slow, deep breaths

If someone gets dehydrated (one of the risks with MDMA (ecstasy), ice and speed). Symptoms include cramps, sudden tiredness, headache or fainting:

  • Take them outside or to a cooler place
  • Encourage them to sip water or non-alcoholic drinks (no more than 250ml per hour)
  • Remove any excess clothing, or apply a cold compress, like ice wrapped in a cloth, to cool them  
  • If they feel faint, lie them on their side in the recovery position
  • If symptoms continue call triple zero 000
  • Symptoms of dehydration include cramps, sudden tiredness, headache or fainting.