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SAY YOURE at a rave party enjoying the music and the company of friends.

One of
them disappears for a while, and when he comes back, you notice hes suddenly acting
strange; hes hyperactive and sweating excessively.
Suddenly, he collapses; hes having a seizure. You and the gang rush him to the
nearest hospital where he is immediately treated by doctors. He survives, and as he
recuperates, one of his attending physicians notes traces of an illegal substance in his
blood test.
Drug use is prevalent among todays youth. These days, kids not only have the
resources to buy drugs, they also have easy access to dealers.
The concept of drug dependence is simple, and yet complicated. Neurotransmitters
(chemical signals that send information throughout the brain and body) are received
by receptors. Drugs compete with neurotransmitters for the receptors; this produces
the high experienced by users. Take more drugs and the body produces more
receptors, which results again in the high feeling.
Drugs are classified into seven categories: stimulants, depressants, narcotics,
inhalants, hallucinogens, cannabis and dissociative anesthetics. As a medical student,
Ill explain how the four widely used drugs in the country affect our bodies.
Stimulants are also known as uppers. These are drugs that stimulate the central
nervous system, making us alert and energetic. The effects, however, are temporary,
and a high is usually followed by a crash, a feeling that includes exhaustion and
depression, sometimes severe dehydration and even heart problems.
Those with a long-time addiction to stimulants depend on them not for the high but
to function normally. Examples of stimulants include methamphetamines, cocaine and

EYE candy but deadly Ecstacy

Depressants are also known as downers. These are the drugs that inhibit the regular
function of the central nervous system. The most common depressant is alcohol,
although it is legal to sell and consume it.
Another legal drug that is often abused and misused is Diazepam more popularly
known as Valium. Used as sleeping pill and to calm nerves, Diazepam can slow brain
function, pulse, breathing, and reflexes, and can even lead to depression and death if
not taken as prescribed.

Cannabis, better known as marijuana, is a little different from the other types of drugs
because it comes from an organic source. Cannabis can affect all organs and systems
in the body: it can increase heart rate, lower blood pressure and lower blood sugar.
These produce the effect of lightness and extreme hunger, or what people call
munchies. For some users, however, ingesting cannabis can cause aggression or
agitation instead of calmness. When mixed with alcohol, it can even lead to death.
Dissociative anesthetics are drugs that alter sight and sound perceptions and
dissociate the user from his or her self and the world, leading to what they term as
out-of-body experience.
These types of drugs were originally not meant for human consumption; large
animals, like horses, were tranquilized using these drugs.
Because dissociative anesthetics hamper movement, they are used in clubs and bars as
date-rape drugs. Short-term effects include an increase in heart rate and blood
pressure, hallucinations, nausea, vomiting and respiratory problems. A notable
example is Ketamine, which has since been controlled in the late 90s.
A medical problem
More than being a social or criminal problem, drug abuse is primarily a medical
To combat the prevalence of drug use, one must rehabilitate the victims of drug use
and abuse. This will lower the demand for drugs. A lower demand leads to lower
sales, which will eventually put dealers out of business.
Investing in research will also go a long way in the treatment of drug abuse, and the
prevention of relapse. Let us work together to inform, educate and stop drug abuse.
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10 Safety Tips For Parties

1. Don't do ANYTHING that makes you feel uncomfortable. People won't look down on you for
saying "no," and if they do, they're not worth your time.
2. Don't accept any food or drinks from someone you don't completely trust.

3. Never leave your drink unattended.

4. Don't get into a car with a driver who has been drinking or doing drugs. See if you can stop
that person from driving home and then make sure you have a safe way to get home.
5. Make sure your parents know where you are.
6. Beware of drugs like "the date rape drug." Some drugs can be hard to detect, and have very
serious affects.
7. Try to keep parties under control. Consider calling the police if they ever get out of control.
8. Act responsibly. If you get caught doing something illegal (or you are with someone who is
doing something illegal), not only will you have to face the consequences, if you're underage,
your parents or guardians can also be held responsible.
9. When you go out with a friend, keep an eye out for each other while you are out and make
sure you go home together.
10. Don't hesitate to call 911 if there is a medical emergency.

Partying is fun for people of all ages. Teenagers in particular like to party. This may include
clubbing, attending a concert or festival, having a party at home or going to a party at a friends
house. If you follow a few simple suggestions, it will help you stay safe while youre having a
good time.
If you are informed about safe partying, you will be better prepared to protect yourself and your

Issues to consider with partying

Some of the things that can go wrong at teenage parties and clubs include:

binge drinking

drink driving

unprotected sex

drug overdose

drink spiking

sexual assault




getting arrested.
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General suggestions for partying safely

Make smart decisions, including:

Remember that you dont have to use alcohol or other drugs to have fun.

Eat well before you leave home. A full stomach slows the absorption of alcohol.

Drink in moderation. Dont let others top up your drinks and go for low alcohol options
wherever possible.

The best way to avoid drug-related problems is not to use at all. If you do, make sure you
know what youre taking and find out how to reduce the risks of overdose or injury. Never mix
drugs with alcohol or other drugs.

Trust your own judgement. Dont let peer pressure sway you into doing anything you
dont want to do. Its okay to say no.

Keep your wits about you and stay close to friends you trust.

Take condoms with you if you think you might end up having sex and use them.

Dont get into a car with a driver who has been drinking.

Remember that your judgement may be impaired if youve been drinking or taking drugs
dont take risks you may regret, such as diving into water if you dont know how deep it is or
fooling around near swimming pools.

Leave for somewhere safe if you feel unsafe at a venue or party.

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Plan the night out

If youre going out with friends to party, safety suggestions include:

Know where youre going and how youre getting there.

Plan how to get home for example, take enough money to share a taxi or nominate a
driver to stay sober.

Have a plan B to get home if plan A falls through for example, ask someones parent if
they will pick you up if you cant get a taxi.

Decide to stay together in a group and look after each other.

Dont leave drinks unattended and dont accept a drink from a stranger. Dont take your
eyes off your drink.

Decide on a drink limit and stick to it. Occupy your hands with soft drink or water once
youve reached your limit, so youre not tempted to keep buying alcohol drinks. Avoid shouts or
drinking games. You are likely to make silly or even dangerous decisions when you have had too
much to drink.

Remember that it is illegal to drink alcohol on the street or in a public place or to carry or
use illicit drugs. Even if youre drunk (and not just actively drinking) in public, the police are able
to place you in custody. You could be arrested and conviction may impact on your future
employment or travel plans.
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Avoid potentially violent situations

Alcohol and some drugs can lead to physical fights and assault. Suggestions include:

Pace yourself so that you dont lose control as a result of using alcohol or other drugs

Decide with friends beforehand to look out for each other.

Dont get into a verbal argument if someone aggressively confronts you. Walk away.

Dont go off with a person youve only just met. Stay in the public place. If they interest
you, get a phone number.

Seek help and advice from your doctor, a social worker or alcohol and drug worker if you
tend to pick fights when youre drunk or on drugs.
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Overdoses can be avoided

Drugs can cause many health problems including overdose. Safety suggestions include:

Educate yourself about drugs and their effects. Tell a friend what you are taking if you
intend to take an illegal drug. They can advise the ambulance staff if necessary.

Dont assume that medications are a safer option than illegal drugs. Medications can be
dangerous, even life threatening, if used incorrectly.

Remember that illegal drugs are not manufactured to a precise formula like medicines.
An illegal drug may be much stronger than you expect. It may not actually be the drug you think
it is, but may contain something else.

Be aware that mixing alcohol and drugs can put you in extreme danger of overdose. The
depressant effects of alcohol can mask the effects of stimulant drugs like speed.

Never use alone and dont share needles.

Remember that if you call the ambulance, the paramedics will only get the police
involved if someone feels threatened, or if there has been a death.
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Safe partying at home

If you are throwing a party at home, safety suggestions include:

Register your party with your local police at least one week in advance.

Insist that the party is invitation only to reduce the risk of gate-crashers. Ask your
guests not to spread the word to others via SMS or the internet.

Indicate clearly on the invitation whether the party is alcohol free or if alcohol is provided
or is BYO. Say whether cigarette smoking is permitted. State firmly that illegal drugs are not

Invite parents of party guests to call beforehand for more information.

Ask parents of guests to provide transport to and from the party.

Secure all valuables on your property.

Make sure you have responsible adults on hand to monitor the party.

Make sure the host (and the hosts parents and other responsible adults) remain sober
so that any problems can be dealt with quickly and safely.

Consider a hired security guard It may seem extreme, but it could give you (and your
guests) additional peace of mind.

Serve plenty of food. Guests are more likely to get drunk on an empty stomach. Avoid
salty foods, which may encourage guests to drink.

Serve plenty of water and soft drinks.

Be vigilant if you have a swimming pool intoxicated guests may fall in.

Turn the music down after midnight.

Have a plan of action if a guest becomes drunk or ill. This might involve arranging for
them to get home safely, or calling 000 if theyre seriously ill.

Ask gate-crashers to leave immediately or threaten that the police will be called. Follow
through with your threats.

Call the police if you feel that a situation is beyond your control.

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Safe partying for guests at a home party

If youve been invited to a party at someones home, safety suggestions include:
Dont advertise the party via SMS or the internet. You risk gate-crashers and violent


Arrange for your parents to drive you to the party and pick you up at a designated time.

Give your parents the hosts phone numbers.

Take soft drink, not alcohol.

Dont keep quiet and allow unsafe behaviour. If you are concerned at all, speak to the
host, the hosts parents or the designated responsible adults.
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How to help a friend in need

If your friend is suffering from the effects of alcohol or drugs or needs help, suggestions include:
Always dial triple zero (000) for an ambulance in an emergency. Dont avoid calling the

ambulance because youre afraid the police may become involved. Your friend may suffer
serious consequences if you delay getting them help. Ambulance officers only care about saving

Stay close by your friend and monitor their wellbeing. Offer reassurance.

If your friend is unconscious, lay them on their side to reduce the risk of aspirating
(breathing in) vomit.

If they are not breathing, commence cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). If you dont
know how to perform CPR, call 000 and emergency services staff will guide you over the phone.
The ambulance officers will take over as soon as they arrive.

If your friend has been assaulted, or thinks they may have been drugged and
assaulted, encourage them to immediately contact the police or go to the emergency
department of the nearest hospital. Offer your support.
Its a good idea to read ReachOut.coms fact sheet on helping a drunk friend, so that you have
some good strategies for helping drunk friends at: Reach Out Helping a drunk friend.
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Where to get help

Your doctor

Police, call triple zero (000)

Ambulance, call triple zero (000)

Emergency department of your nearest hospital

Kids Helpline Tel. 1800 551 800

DirectLine Tel. 1800 888 236 for 24-hour confidential drug and alcohol telephone
counselling, information and referral

Youth Support and Advocacy Service (YSAS) Tel.1800 458 685 for young people, 24hour confidential drug and alcohol telephone counselling, information and referral

DrugInfo Tel. 1300 85 85 84 for information

Family Planning Victoria Tel. 1800 013 952 or (03) 9257 0100

Melbourne Sexual Health Centre Tel. (03) 9341 6200 or 1800 032 017 or TTY (for the
hearing impaired) (03) 9347 8619

Action Centre (for young people 25 and under) Tel: (03) 9660 4700

Sexual Assault Crisis Line and CASA Tel. 1800 806 292

National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service (Australia) Tel.
1800 737 732 free telephone counselling hotline (24 hours, 7 days)

1800RESPECT for real-time online counselling

Victims of Crime Helpline 1800 819 817

Parentline Tel. 132 289

Victoria Police Party Safe program call your local police station

Family Drug Help for information and support for people concerned about a relative or
friend using drugs Tel. 1300 660 068
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Things to remember

Some of the things that can go wrong when teenagers are partying include binge
drinking, drink driving, arrest, unprotected sex, drink spiking, sexual assault, injury and drug

Australian statistics show that teenagers who are informed about safe partying are more
likely to protect themselves and their friends.

Know where youre going, how youre getting there and how youre getting home.

Party Drugs, Ecstasy and Hallucinogens

This information is available from PADs Parent & Community Handbook, 7th

Read below
Download print-friendly version
Order (a complimentary copy of the handbook is available for parents)

Party Drugs
The term party (or club) drug refers to a variety of drugs found at dance clubs
and house parties. Party/Club drugs are sometimes referred to as designer

drugs. The substances are typically produced in illegal laboratories, using a

variety of chemicals. It is extremely difficult to predict their strength, what their
effects will be and whether they contain poisonous ingredients. Therefore these
drugs can pose serious risks to young peoples health and safety. Drugs, such as
Rohypnol, GHB and Ketamine, have also been called date rape drugs because
they have been used in situations of sexual assault. People can be sexually
assaulted in this way by a stranger as well as someone they know or are
dating. The victim can be a male or female. Because these drugs are
colourless, tasteless and odourless, they can be added to drinks and used to
intoxicate or sedate others without their knowledge. When used together, or in
combination with alcohol, all of these drugs pose an even greater threat to
health and safety.

(also E, XTC, RAdam, Euphoria, X, MDMA, molly, Love Doves)
Ecstasy is a recreational drug, most popular among teenagers and young adults,
and is often found in environments where alcohol is not permitted. It has certain
effects in common with hallucinogens and the party drugs but is related to
amphetamines (a stimulant). It is produced in illegal laboratories and can often
be contaminated by substances such as caffeine or ephedrine or other toxic
drugs. It is usually taken by mouth in capsules or tablets, which are often
stamped with a logo, making them look like candy. It may also be a powder that
is sniffed. There have been deaths which have been attributed to the use of

in lower doses, it can cause feelings of pleasure, closeness to others,

energy and confidence
there may be increased blood pressure and heart rate, sweating, nausea,
jaw pain, blurred vision and vomiting
overheating and possible dehydration can occur when ecstasy use is
combined with all night dancing
higher doses may produce hallucinations, paranoia, panic, anxiety and
the person may experience after effects such as confusion, irritability,
anxiety and sleep problems
repeated use can result in confusion, irritability, depression and weight

(rophies, ruffies, roofies)
Rohypnol is the manufacturers trade name for a drug that belongs to the same
family of sedative drugs that includes drugs such as Valium (trade name). It is
not approved for use inCanadaor theUSA. The person may experience lack of
memory, impaired judgment, dizziness, and periods of blackout. Sedation
begins in about 30 minutes, peaks within 2 hours and lasts for about 8 hours.

(Special K, baby food)
Ketamine is also a drug that is available at clubs and raves and has been
reported in cases of sexual assault. It is a relative ofPCPand has been used as an
anesthetic in medical and veterinary practice. The drug is found in the form of
capsules, powder, crystals and solutions. Effects include temporary amnesia
and hallucinations which may be intense or terrifying, dizziness, numbness, and
blurred vision. The person may feel sleepy, withdrawn, or confused. They may
experience disassociation, feeling as though the mind is separated from the

(Liquid Ecstasy, Liquid X)
GHB, (gamma hydroxy butyrate) has surfaced as a drug at clubs and rave
parties and also has been found in cases of sexual assault. It is an illegally
manufactured drug mostly prepared as an odourless and tasteless liquid. It is
quickly absorbed in the body and peaks in 20-60 minutes. At low doses, the
person may feel sociable and less inhibited. With a slightly higher dose the
person may experience dizziness, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, amnesia and
vertigo. At higher doses, the person may experience loss of consciousness,
seizures, depressed breathing and coma.

The term hallucinogens refers to a class of drugs that have the effect of
changing the users perception of reality. These drugs can make people hear or
see things that arent really there (hallucinate), change the way they feel time
is passing, distort colours and sounds, and make people feel their minds are
separated from their bodies. A person using these drugs may find these feelings
pleasant and exciting or threatening and disturbing, sometimes resulting in
panic and depression, injuries or even accidental deaths. Other effects include
numbness, weakened muscles and nausea. The response can vary each time.

(magic mushrooms, shrooms, shroomies)
This drug usually comes in a form of dried mushrooms which are swallowed.
However, it also can come as a powder in capsules. The powder can be sniffed,
smoked, injected or mixed with liquid, such as juice, and swallowed.

(acid, blotter, cid, microdot, windowpane)
LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) is a white, odourless, crystalline powder made
in illegal laboratories. The pure drug is almost invisible. It is usually taken by
mouth. To be sold on the streets it is packaged in tablets, capsules, gelatin
sheets or pieces of blotting paper, often with cartoon drawings on them.

Mescaline is derived from buttons of the peyote cactus, which are chopped or
ground and sold in capsules or prepared chemically.

PCP comes in the form of a white or coloured crystal or powder or tablet. It is
usually mixed with tobacco or marijuana and smoked. Effects can last as long as
two weeks. Users can become violent.

Salvia Divinorum
(magic mint,SallyD, salvia)
This is a form of sage from the mint family. Despite being restricted from being
sold in stores, it is available for purchase online or in drug paraphernalia or
head shops. The leaves are chewed or made into a juice or dried and
smoked. The effects of this drug include hallucinations, out-of-body
experiences, loss of consciousness and memory, and lack of physical
coordination. Very little is known about the long term effects of this drug.

Jimson Weed
(stinkweed, locoweed, Angels Trumpet, Datura)
This is a legal, but poisonous plant that grows wild and in many gardens in
southern Canada. Users can eat the seeds, brew the leaves as a tea, or smoke
the dried leaves to experience the hallucinogenic and euphoric effects. The
plant, however, has caused poisoning and even death in animals and humans.