With Sleaze 2006 coming up the weekend after this, it is a good time to look at some of the major issues in the Sydney party drug scene. The drug scene is constantly changing and although I have written these articles in the lead-up to many parties, no two have ever been the same. Since I began writing this column no drug has ever been taken off the agenda, but new ones get added.

GHB, crystal meth and ketamine continue to be popular and it is a good time to remember all three of these are often linked to sex. Accordingly, one of the major messages for the coming weekend is to remember basic safe-sex messages. With a range of drugs available that increase sexual desire and also often affect judgment, and pharmaceutical products such as Viagra readily available that ensure you can perform on call, the potential for unsafe sex is there.

Drink spiking is an issue that never seems to go away. We don’t really know the prevalence of this crime but there are still reports of people being sexually assaulted or robbed after apparently being spiked. How can you best avoid this sort of thing happening to you? Here are a few tips to assist you:

-¢ Try not to accept a drink from a stranger. If you do, ensure you watch it being poured and make sure it has not been tampered with.

-¢ Don’t leave your drink unattended, even for a short time.

-¢ Always look after your friends. If they appear to become unusually intoxicated, ensure they don’t leave with anyone they don’t know.

As has been said before, if you’re out for a good time, these rules may be difficult to follow. On a big party weekend it is often difficult to remember what day it is, let alone follow a series of rules about safer drinking. Waking up in a strange room not knowing what you have done the night before is not pleasant. Responsible drinking behaviour and looking after your friends may prevent sexual behaviour you didn’t even consent to.

One of the major problems many partygoers will experience is the almost inevitable comedown. As the old saying goes, what goes up must come down. Unfortunately, many people are not prepared for Eccy Tuesday and can find the week following a major party particularly distressing. The use of crystal, acknowledged for its crash following its use, may make things seem even worse. Anyone who has used crystal will tell you the lows with this drug appear almost bottomless. If anyone is considering using this drug they should be well aware of the effect this drug can have on mood.

Some people need special assistance when it comes to recovering after a big weekend. Services like the Alcohol and Drug Information Service (ADIS) provide 24-hour telephone harm-minimisation information, counselling and support. Look after each other and yourself -“ don’t overdo it.

Remember: if you do not want any negative consequences, do not use the drug and, no matter how many times you have used a substance, never be blas?/p>

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