How to deal with drug use

Mixing drugs

Almost always the dangers of any drug are increased if it is taken in conjunction with another drug, or while another drug is still in the body. Since some drugs can stay in the bloodstream for days, it is difficult for a regular drug user to start from a totally clean position. Drug interactions are also very complex. Taking two different stimulants is likely to have a very different effect from taking twice the amount of one drug. The best advice is not to mix drugs and that includes mixing alcohol with prescription drugs. If you do take more than one drug in a night, remember what you have taken and when and allow time for the effects of the first to kick in and wear off before you take the second. This is much safer and it means that you are also much more likely to get the effect you intended.

It is not advisable to try and deal with coming down by taking a different kind of drug. The best way to come down is naturally with rest and relaxation; replenish your body with fluids and food as soon as your appetite recovers. Drugs like ecstasy and speed deplete some of the body’s minerals, so taking vitamins and minerals during or after taking any kind of drug will help you recover.


Any drug bought on the street is more than likely to have a high degree of impurity as dealers maximise profit by cutting the drug with similar looking substances (e.g. glucose or flour, or with another, cheaper drug like ketamine). This is a particular problem for clubbers who often go to different venues and buy their drugs from strangers. Frequently even the dealers don’t know what they’re selling, having bought it from someone else. Impurities can be dangerous in their own right or they can delay the absorption of the drug, leaving people to take more because they fear it hasn’t worked. This means that you double up, leaving you with a lot of drugs in your system.

Bad trips

If someone has a bad trip or an uncomfortable experience having taken drugs:

  • Take the person to quiet surroundings where they feel comfortable,
  • Find a friend who can reassure them,
  • Stress that the panic is caused by the drug and that it will probably wear off in a few hours,
  • Tell them to relax and don’t do anything that might alarm them (like tell them they shouldn’t have taken drugs),
  • If they become uncontrollable call a doctor or take them to a hospital, but do remember that going to a hospital could make someone even more anxious.

There is also some evidence that suggests that vitamin C (e.g. in orange juice if you’re in a club) can help people down from trips faster.

Magic mushrooms

If someone is having a bad response to magic mushrooms which includes vomiting or diarrhoea, cramps, an increased flow of saliva, watering eyes and breathing difficulties, then they have taken a poisonous (rather than a “magic”) mushroom. Get them to a hospital immediately and take with you any vomit or left over mushrooms so that the poison can be identified. If they seem to get better they should still seek urgent medial attention as it is still possible to die days later. If the bad response involves paranoia or frightening hallucinations follow the advice on bad trips above.

If someone collapses…

Don’t panic; stay calm:

  • Call an ambulance (or, ask whoever calls the ambulance to come back and tell you they have done it as some people go into shock and forget to make the call),
  • Get the person to as cool a place as possible and put them in the recovery position,
  • Drench them with cold water and fan them to keep them cool,
  • When the ambulance arrives, tell them exactly what the person has taken or try and find out what they have taken; it is vital to give the paramedic as much information as possible,
  • If the person regains consciousness, make them drink some water with salt in it or an isotonic drink (but not large amounts quickly as this can do more harm than good),
  • The person should be taken to hospital for observation and professional treatment. Anything you say to paramedics or hospital staff will be in strict confidence.