Most of us are aware that taking drugs can have side effects. The research clearly shows that those who use drugs more often are more likely to experience the negative side effects and to experience them more intensely.

Illicit drug use happens despite its illegality. If you use drugs recreationally, there are some useful strategies you can adopt to help minimise the dangers associated with illicit drug use.

The most important harm minimisation strategy involves not mixing your drugs. The interaction of certain drugs of varying strengths can often be unpredictable and can have serious consequences. It is therefore best to avoid mixing drugs together or with alcohol.

However, if you intend to mix drugs, make sure your friends or those people you are taking drugs with know what you have taken. You should do this so that if something unfortunate, such as an overdose, occurs they can provide the correct information to those assisting you and you can receive appropriate treatment.

It is also a good idea that your friends tell you the types of drugs they are taking so you can help them if the situation is reversed.

You should always try to have a decent meal and a good night’s sleep before taking drugs as it can often be difficult to do both in the days afterwards. If you give your body the sustenance and the rest it needs, the impact on you after using drugs will be lessened.

Furthermore, when you are on drugs, it is important to monitor your water intake. You don’t want to overhydrate the body nor do you want to be dehydrated, as both can have series consequences.

In terms of knowing what is in the drugs you are taking, it is often best to only buy from known or trusted dealers. Buying at clubs can often be risky as you don’t know what the drugs have been cut with or what it is that you are actually buying.

A good way to make sure you don’t binge on drugs is to take a cash budget with you. This means leaving the cards at home so you won’t be tempted to buy more drugs than you need or want if your buzz is starting to wear off.

Following these strategies will not guarantee a negative side effect-free drug use experience. They are only there to assist you to be more mindful of your drug use.

If drugs are affecting you or someone you love, contact the Buoyancy Foundation 03 9429 3322 Turning Point Direct Line, 1800 888 236

By ADAM HYNES
Victorian AIDS Council/Gay Men’s Health Centre

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