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Totally Fucked Up [Part 3]

Author: Jo Vraca
Thursday, 13 September 2001
HARM MINIMISATION TIPS

Don't mix drugs - Most drug-related deaths occur when people mix drugs, including alcohol, amphetamines, opiates, prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Leave the mixing to the DJ.
Look after each other - Stick with your friends and make sure they're okay. Help them if they're not.
Drink water - About 500ml an hour and sip rather than gulp.
Plan ahead - Plan how you're gong to get there and how you're going to get home (make sure you put money aside for a taxi/bus/train/plane/limousine if you need one).
Pace yourself - Don't drink too quickly or you may pass out before things really begin to get interesting.
Experiment safely - If experimenting with illicit drugs, make sure you use a reliable dealer that people you know have used before. Be conservative with the dosage you take so you can gauge the effects (if it's not working after ten minutes don't pop two more - patience is a virtue) and always make sure someone experienced with the drug is around to keep an eye on you.
Call the ambulance - If you're worried about somebody, don't be afraid to call an ambulance - they don't report to the police if you're underage or have taken illegal drugs.

For more information or referral call DRUGinfo on 13 15 70 (Victoria only) or go to their website at http://www.adf.org.au/drughit

'Herbal' Alternatives
Marketed as safe substitutes for ecstasy, speed and cocaine, many alternatives contain high levels of herbs such as ephedra and ma-huang. While Ma-huang has been used for aeons in Chinese medicine, when used in excess (which is sometimes the case with party goers), it can be extremely dangerous.

Many herbal alternatives such as Cloud 9 have been banned in Australia for years as they are sold over the counter without any questions. People see the words 'herbal' or 'natural' and think 'safe'. But that isn't always the case.

According to the British National Formulary, ephedrine (the substance from which ephedra is derived) is "not recommended and should be avoided wherever possible", especially if the user has kidney disease, heart disease, diabetes or hypertension. But then, many alternatives are safer.

"Because something is natural and legal does not mean it is safe. Herbal Ecstasy without Ephedra will have no greater direct effect than coffee or caffeine drinks such as Red Bull, while Ephedra may well be more dangerous than MDMA." Nicholas Saunders - taken from 'Ecstasy and the Dance Culture'

Paul Dillon puts it simply: "The reality is, if you're going to stick anything in your bloody gob then it's irrelevant whether it's so-called natural or not. You're still wanting to make your body do something that it doesn't want to do; dancing all night, not sleeping, loud music, smoke - a natural, drug free night still means health risks."

You've been doing it since year zero, are you over it yet-

"I've cut back from what I used to do, but I still enjoy them. My only real concern is spending too much on them when I should be saving money, but I spend more on records than drugs."
- Steve, 27, DJ

"I used to wonder why I wasn't feeling like that first pill. Then things got hairy. Weekend comes, go out, alter head state, things happen, get depressed, don't realise why your depressed, get high again, get happy again, Monday comes, you wake up at someone's house, realise you gotta go home, go home, Tuesday, your alright, Wednesday, all those small voices are getting louder, Thursday, you cant stop to ponder and analyse and think because your going out again, weekend is almost here, so then you go out and do it allll again. I just roll with it all, takeing things in their stride, but there are moments when I'm too hung up on the next half pill, and thinking about the drugs more then anything else…"
- Erin, 19, punter

"There's nothing intrinsically 'clever' about [drugs]. The fact that they are illegal does not draw me to them, and you don't have to b
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