Over the Mardi Gras weekend we saw a great response to the campaign targeting partygoers regarding their alcohol and drug use. Although there were still a considerable number of GHB overdoses admitted to St Vincent’s Accident and Emergency Department over that period, the Mardi Gras Party was relatively quiet. In fact, most of the gay venues reported a quiet weekend with regards to ambulance calls.

Let’s hope that this continues. The mainstream media have now discovered GHB after the incident at a Melbourne dance event two weeks ago and they are now tracking emergency departments around the country. We really don’t need any further attention on our community, particularly when it appears as though we are beginning to make an impact as far as information delivery is concerned.

However, I would like to share something that happened over the Mardi Gras weekend that concerned me greatly. I had visited a number of venues on the Sunday evening and had just arrived at one of Sydney’s premier nightspots. I went to the toilet and after spending a few minutes left the cubicle. I went to wash my hands and in the corner of my eye noticed a young man hunched up in the corner, barely conscious, sliding into the urinal. I walked over and tried to wake him. When I touched his shoulder he came around and instantly told me that he was fine. He was sweating profusely, slurring his words and by this time his hand was in the urinal trough.

The toilet area was quite hot and he obviously needed to get some air. I tried to get him up but that was proving quite difficult as he was slipping in and out of consciousness. Finally I got him to the point where he was relatively lucid and walked him to the washbasins. He washed his hands, his knees occasionally buckling beneath him. By the way, did I say that there were about 12-15 people in the toilet at this time? The guy was almost sitting in the trough, he was obviously in trouble and no-one -“ not one person -“ came forward to give me a hand and get this guy up and out of the toilet!

In fact it was not until I had this guy out of the toilet and found my friends that anyone gave me a hand in getting this young man to security and medical assistance. At this point I do need to say that security were great -“ they responded quickly and extremely professionally. They were not heavy-handed and were only interested in making sure that the health of the young man was their number one priority.

On reflection, maybe I should have just asked someone to give me a hand -“ I’m sure if push came to shove someone would have helped if requested. However, what would have happened if I hadn’t been there? How long had he been in that state with no-one even asking him if he was okay? Some people complain about the increased security in toilets but this is exactly why this has been forced upon us.

I hope we haven’t got to the stage where we stop caring about people who are in trouble. We’ve always been a community that looks after each other -“ I hope G hasn’t put a stop to that. No-one wants to have their night ruined by other peoples’ drug choices but I know that if I was in a bad place I’d want someone to stop and check and see if I was okay. Wouldn’t you?

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