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festivals - tips for enjoying yourself safely

Make sure you go with friends you can rely on – stick together and have regular meet up times during the day and evening.

Take plenty of sun cream, wellies, a disposable rain coat and a sun hat.

Food and drinks are really expensive, so take light things like cereal bars, cereal and dried fruit and nuts. If you can, take frozen water and milk (keeps your stuff cool for a while). A big shopping bag on wheels or a wheelbarrow is really helpful!

Don’t take anything valuable with you – take a cheap phone with a long battery life and a wind up or solar charger. A fold up chair is good too.

Just because you’re in a party atmosphere, don’t trust people you don’t know well or be tempted to try things they may offer you.

Taking drugs especially with alcohol is very risky. It isn’t possible to know what substances are in pills and other drugs that might be on sale. Because of this, some festivals offer a testing facility to identify what substances are included/ adulterated with like The Loop.

Advice for staying safe around drugs at festivals and events

People should be aware of the risk that they face when taking drugs, both to their health and safety but also in terms of breaking the law. To find out more about different substances visit or

If someone is planning to take drugs, there is advice to reduce risk. This is adapted from 10 Commandments for Safer Drug Use from Dominic Milton Trott’s The Honest Drug Book.

Know what’s being taking 

Drugs at festivals are often not what they are sold as, are of poor quality or mixed with other risky substances. A festival is not a good place to try a substance for the first time.

Dosage is critical 

If anyone is considering taking a drug, they should start low and go slow. How safe is the location? Who is there to look out if there is a bad reaction? What is known about the drug? How strong is it and what is in it?

Remember someone can’t un-take what they have already taken

If someone is introducing a new chemical into their body they can’t know how it will react. A low dose will usually reduce the risks to personal safety and psychological wellbeing, including the risk of overdose or a bad experience.

Test drugs if possible

Reagent tests can be used to reduce the risks of drugs that have been mis-sold or are adulterated, however, only lab grade equipment can give an accurate measure of strength/purity, so beware. Find out if the event has an onsite  free drug testing facility like those provided by The Loop.

If someone can’t test the drugs first, they should take a very small test dose first, this should alert If someone can’t test the drugs first, they should take a very small test dose first, this should alert them to any allergic or adverse reaction and will give an idea of the strength of the substance. The Start Low and Go Slow advice is always to take a test does and wait at least 2 hours before taking more.

Avoid mixing substances

Mixing substances can have unpredictable effects and puts more strain on the body. Some combinations can be deadly – like alcohol and ketamine. Also, some medications can interact dangerously with other drugs. If someone decides to combine drugs check out Tripsit’s drug combination chart.

Are they feeling okay

It is a serious question. If someone is unwell, sick, or in poor health, these conditions may seriously affect a reaction to a drug. This also applies to mental health. Some drugs can intensify whatever mood, feeling or psychological space someone is experiencing. They may take someone higher or lower.

Plan the experience

…. so that someone doesn’t take rash decisions under the influence. Having taken whatever dose chosen, they should always be patient, and if an effect isn’t immediate, think it didn’t work. A common mistake is to double-dose, which can be fatal. People shouldn’t try to keep up with mates, as everyone has different tolerance levels It’s good advice to write down what drugs are being used and to have the note with the person using so that if the worst happens the emergency services know.

Leave  time to recover

People should drink plenty of fluids, eat well and get some rest. Sleep deprivation alone can cause hallucinations, so when adding drugs and alcohol to the mix, the effects can be very unpredictable. Lack of sleep can make the negative effects (anxiety, paranoia, etc.) of some drugs worse.

Keep hydrated & eat well

If it’s hot and/or if dancing people can dehydrate quickly, alcohol and stimulant drugs increase the rate of dehydration.  Having a water bottle and filling it up every time someone passes a water point –  is good advice. Taking regular sips of water but not  overdoing it (around a pint an hour is a good guide).

keep hydrated and look after your mates

Food lines the stomach which reduces the irritation caused by alcohol & ingested substances. It slows the uptake of alcohol into the bloodstream and helps to top up the salt and minerals the body loses while drinking alcohol.

Look after mates and fellow revellers

Make sure you and your mates know what to do in a drug/alcohol related emergency. If something happens to one of your friends do not hesitate to call for help, speak to the nearest steward, security guard or anyone with a radio. If a friend has passed out from drink or drugs do not leave them unattended.

If you see someone else that looks to be having a difficult time, ask if they’re ok. Offer to walk them to welfare. If they refuse help but you’re worried about them, alert security or a steward.

Find out about the medical and welfare teams

– and feel confident about using them.