Protect your mates

Here’s what you need to know should you ever have to help a friend or relative who’s having a bad reaction to any drug they have taken.

Act right away and call 000 for an ambulance.

If you are concerned about the police or do not want to deal with them still call 000. You do not need to give a name, (supply an alias if the operator asks).

You are only required to tell the operator

  • Where you are
  • If the person is conscious or unconscious
  • If the person is breathing or not breathing

If you cannot connect to the operator with 000 for any reason (including no coverage) then try 112. If you dial 112 with a mobile phone anywhere in the world it will connect you to the local emergency operator.

What happens when the ambulance arrives?

You can help by telling the ambulance crew, the doctors and nurses all you know about what drug(s) your friend had taken, if they’d been drinking, and if your friend has any medical conditions.

If there are still some of the drugs left, hand them over. Providing this information will help them give your friend the right treatment without delay.

What to look out for

If someone is having a bad time on drugs they may be:

  • anxious
  • tense
  • panicky
  • overheated and dehydrated
  • drowsy or very lethargic
  • having difficulty with breathing or snoring

What to do first

  • Stay calm
  • Calm them and be reassuring
  • Try to find out what they’ve taken
  • Stay with them

If they are anxious, tense or panicky

  • Sit them somewhere quiet
  • Tell them to take slow deep breaths
  • Stay with them

If they are really drowsy

  • Sit them in a quiet place and keep them awake
  • If they don’t respond or become unconscious call an ambulance immediately and place them in the recovery position
  • Don’t scare them, shout at them or shock them
  • Don’t give them coffee or throw cold water over them
  • Don’t put them in a cold bath or shower to ‘wake them up’

If they are unconscious or having difficulty breathing

  • Immediately phone for an ambulance
  • Place them into the recovery position
  • Stay with them until the ambulance arrives

SMS ‘poppy’ to 0439 835 563 confidential Australian Drug Foundation.