The final message for the Mardi Gras season is, Get help. If something goes wrong, seek medical assistance immediately.

This is a message which has been taken up by our community over the years, mainly due to the amazing work done by teams of medical volunteers who have given up their time to make sure that party patrons are as safe as possible.

Medical teams have been a part of our parties and a part of the Mardi Gras season for many years. All members of these teams have extensive experience in first aid at nightclub and dance events and work in shifts to ensure party safety.

Party patrons feel safe and secure when going to the medical tent knowing that they will be given the best possible care by people from the community who will not judge them or condemn their behaviour.

Members of the gay and lesbian community were trailblazers in this area, and we are still judged by many across the world as best practice.

In addition to this we now also have party rovers at most of our major dance events.

Some years ago the Harbour Party, as part of their alcohol and other drug strategy, introduced a new system of party rovers to improve safety.

Unlike the medical rovers that roam the larger events such as Mardi Gras and Pride, these teams were not medically trained (specific medical rovers are used for that role), but were briefed on how to respond to certain situations that could jeopardise the future of the event.

The rovers are volunteers who are coordinated to support the many health and safety initiatives that are implemented at the party.

Throughout the duration of the event they circulate, identifying any potential problems with the patrons.

These teams are composed of people with a good understanding of the patrons, the event and the community.

They are trained to respond quickly in a positive and non-confrontational manner to situations before they become issues.

In combination these two initiatives make our parties amongst the safest in the world.

It is important to remember that, if you look at all of the gay dance events that have been held over the years and then the proportion of critical incidents that have occurred at them, the number is miniscule.

Although we have experienced problems, particularly with GHB in recent years, the number of people who ever actually need medical assistance is very small -“ often less than what St John Ambulance sees at a football match.

However, it is important to know that medical assistance is there, that these volunteers are approachable and you are safe when you are with them.

In NSW, we are extremely fortunate that sense prevails and that there are rules and regulations where police and overdoses are concerned.

Police will not be called to an overdose and unless another crime has been committed, there are no legal ramifications if you need to seek help after illicit drug use.

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