Wanting to go out and party is a normal rite of passage for most young people and could be a number of things including clubbing, a house party, festival or concert. Keep yourself and your friends safe when partying makes it all the more fun. Check out this page for some safe partying tips.

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To help you reach your peak performance at university there are a few important mindsets to have at your disposal: maintaining a balance between work and play is essential to ensuring that you have the physical and mental energy to deliver on your potential.

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Drugs 101

There is no doubt that Alcohol and Other Drugs play some role in our lives, whether as a spectator or users and can range from energy drinks, Sambuca to illicit and prescription drugs.

Drugs are used for many different reasons, the list is long and can include socialising, to have a good time, feel part of the group, to escape worries.

They can be used in a multitude of settings from the footie club, nightclub, home and to the uni bar at lunch. Check out this full blog at http://www.tuneinnotout.com/blog/drugs-101

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Provided by Reach Out

We have partnered with Reach Out to bring you the best factsheet information we can on this topic. Reach Out offers information, support and resources to help young people improve their understanding of mental health issues, develop resilience, and increase their coping skills and help-seeking behaviour.

Safe Partying

Wanting to go out and party is a normal rite of passage for most young people. Partying could be a number of things including clubbing, going to a house party or going to a festival or concert.

safe partyingIt's good to think about how you can keep yourself and your friends safe when partying. There are a few simple things that you can do to have fun in a safe way, and to minimise potential negative impacts of partying.

What sorts of non-fun things might happen at a party?

Parties are usually a lot of fun, however, sometimes things happen that aren't so fun and can be a threat to your safety.
Risks you might want to think about include:

  • drink spiking
  • inter-personal violence
  • unsafe sex / sexual assault
  • drug overdoses (including alcohol and other drugs)
  • drink driving or driving with someone drunk.

There are steps you can take to minimise the chance of these kinds of things happening.

Tips for safe partying

There are a number of things you can do when planning your day or night out to make sure you have fun safely.

Make a plan before you go

Before you go out partying it's a good idea to do a bit of planning, for example:

  • decide where you're going
  • what you're doing
  • know your transport options and plan how you're going to get home (ie public transport, in car with designated driver, parents picking you up, taxi etc)
  • how you can get help if you need it.

It might be a good idea if you're going out with others to stick together in a group and keep an eye on each other for the night.

Be aware of drink spiking

Drink spiking is when alcohol or other drugs are added to your drink without you knowing. This results in you becoming drunk or drug affected unexpectedly.
There are a number of drugs that might be used to spike your drink, including sedatives and GHB, which might make you dizzy, drowsy, and /or effect your memory. However, the most common substance used to spike drinks is usually extra alcohol.

It is a good idea to always buy your own drinks so you know what you're getting, and to keep an eye on your drink at all times while you're out. For more information check out the Reach Out factsheet on drink spiking.

Drink at a low-risk level (if you're drinking at all)

When you get drunk you are more likely to make dumb decisions, look silly in the eyes of others and do things that you will be embarrassed by later, and find it more difficult to do things you normally find easy.

You might also find yourself at an increased risk of being injured or assaulted. When you are drunk you can also experience mood and behaviour changes, for example, you might become more violent.

If you drink too much short-term effects can include: hangovers, nausea, shakiness, vomiting and memory loss.

Long-term effects can include: damage to the brain and liver, increased risk of heart problems and sexual problems (especially male impotency), and risk of emotional problems developing, such as depression, problems at school, work and with relationships.

For more info check out the Reach Out Factsheet on Low-risk drinking fact sheet.

Avoiding getting drunk

safe partyingIf you are going to drink alcohol, there are a number of things you can do to avoid getting drunk. These include:

  • set limits for yourself and stick to them
  • try having a 'spacer' - alternating non-alcoholic drinks with alcoholic drinks
  • drink slowly - take sips not gulps
  • eat before or while you are drinking
  • avoid rounds or 'shouts'
  • avoid drinking games.

If it is your first time drinking, be especially sure to drink slowly since you may not know your limits yet. Before you go to bed it is a good idea to drink a couple of glasses of water.
For more info check out the section on Alcohol.

Avoid getting into fights

Using alcohol increases the likelihood of acting in a violent way. If you find yourself in a situation where someone else is trying to start a fight with you, possibly fuelled by alcohol and/or other drugs, it is important that you don't retaliate. Try to not aggravate the situation and back off before the fight starts.

If you are finding you are being violent while drinking or taking drugs you may want to look at ways to better manage your drug and alcohol intake. An Alcohol and Drug worker, a counsellor or youth worker may be able to help you do this. Check out the Who can help you section for more information on how they can help you. For more info check out the Reach Out fact sheets on  Being Violent fact sheet or the factsheet on Anger.

Safe sex

If you're drinking at a party, you might be less inhibited and be more likely to do things you wouldn't normally. It's a good idea to think about what you're willing to do and how far you're willing to go before you go to the party, and how to be clear with people about this. You might even want to rehearse what you'll say to people beforehand so that you feel comfortable saying it when needed.

For more info check out the sections on Taking care of your sexual health and Sexual assault.

What to do if someone passes out or needs urgent help

If someone needs help urgently immediately call '000' for an ambulance.

  • stay with the party-goer
  • lay them on their side
  • check their airways are clear, their pulse, and breathing and wait for help.

If they are not breathing start CPR straight away. Don't worry if you don't know how, the ambulance will talk you through the steps when you phone 000. Check out the St Johns Ambulance website for more information or to enrol in a first aid course with St Johns Ambulance or the Red Cross.

Is the party at your place?

safe partying

If the party is being held at your place, there may be additional things to think about, including preventing gatecrashers from attending, working out house rules for the party and keeping neighbours happy. Check out the Reach Out factsheet on  Things to think about if you're having a party at your place fact sheet for more info or our blog party planner extraordinaire.

What about other drugs?

Avoiding drug overdoses - A drug is a broad label given to any substance that changes the way your brain works. Different drugs have different effects. Illegal drugs can be particularly unpredictable, as they are not manufactured in a controlled way. Any time you take an illegal drug you cannot know whether it is stronger or weaker or the same as the last time you tried it which means you may be taking more than intended.

When experimenting at parties it is quite possible that you will be exposed to drugs. If you plan to take drugs, it is a good idea to understand their effects before you take them. It is also important to know your source, know your body, and to know your state of mind at the time, as this may also have an impact on your experience.

You may want to check out the Australian Drug Foundation website for information about the effects of individual drugs. If you are planning on taking drugs, it is a good idea to let someone know what you're taking, so that if something goes wrong they can help you more easily. For more information check out our topic page on alcohol and other drugs.

Mixing alcohol + other drugs

Mixing different alcoholic drinks and drugs may increase the speed in which you become drunk and may mean you take more risks. The effect it has depends on the drugs and is unpredictable. It could have no effect, or it could be dangerous.

Mixing alcohol with stimulants can be dangerous. The effects of alcohol may be hidden by the effects of the stimulant which may cause you to feel less drunk than you really are. This may mean you take more risks, and put yourself in danger. Mixing alcohol with other depressant drugs like cannabis may be dangerous as both cause your body reactions to slow down and increase the likelihood of passing out or overdosing. Check out our page of on other drugs which details the types of drugs.

Keep safe

Partying can be safe and fun as long as you do a bit of planning and think about some of the potential risks or problems you might encounter, and work out strategies beforehand about how you're going to deal with them. Much more fun for you and your friends.

Let us know what you think. Do you have any other suggestions to make partying and having fun safer? Let us know in the comments area belowor via our Share Your Story page.

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2 Responses to “Safe Partying”

  1. Xin says:

    I’m not sure if this is a comment for the general topic or for individual stories, but Courtney’s article on “What’s left” is incredible. It gives me goosebumps to think of the way the landscape of youth is changing, but in many ways it’s the same. Our rites of passage have sometimes included tests of dominance (e.g. blaring loud music) and drug use. But not a lot of people give it much thought, and aren’t aware of how their culture and company is shaping what they want/what they consider attractive.

    Great read!

  2. Xin says:

    Also, the video “One Punch Can Kill” is humbling and terrifying. As a martial artist, I am well aware of how easy it is to hurt people, and how devastating that hurt can be. Yet even in situations of danger or aggression, I have found solutions that did not require me to hurt other people.

    As Lao Tzu says in the Daodejing, if ever there comes a time when you must resort to violence, then you should regret that no alternative was available.

    Can’t wait to look up more about stepbackthink.org and to share it with my friends.

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