First Aid

If you find yourself in a situation where someone is badly affected by any drug, CALL AN AMBULANCE straight away.
Inform the ambulance crew of any information related to the incident- drug paraphernalia,wrappers, empty cans etc.

Keep yourself SAFE you may not know what they have taken or the effects it may be having on them. 

Don't let your decision be affected by fear of police involvement. Waiting can make the difference between someone being saved to being dead!

  • Are you worried about someone who seems unwell or appears to be having a reaction after taking a drug or something you think might be a drug?
  • Does the person seem panicky, anxious, distressed or tense? 
  • Maybe you feel something’s just not right?

Here are some suggestions to help them and you:

If you suspect solvent abuse, there is a risk of sudden death if the person exerts themselves in any way. Or of them becoming aggressive as they may be hallucinating.

If you suspect NPS abuse such as synthetic pills, powders, cannabanoids- eg. spice, mamba, side effects range from aggression, hallucinations, psychosis, seizures.

Is the person CONSCIOUS? 

  • Stay calm, keep them calm, don’t scare them or chase after them
  • Both of you take slow deep breaths
  • Don’t let them sleep just in case they’re sick, talk to them, be supportive
  • Calmly try to find out what they’ve used or taken, remember this is not the time to discuss what they’ve done
  • Stay with them until the effects have worn of
  • When recovered consider seeking professional help

You can call 111 free from a landline or mobile any time of day or night all year round if:

  • You need medical help fast but it's not a 999 emergency
  • You think you need to go to A&E  (Accident and Emergency) or need another NHS urgent care service
  • You don't know who to call or you don't have a GP to call
  • You need health information or reassurance about what to do next

Keep the person calm and still, please be conscious of your own personal safety too!

Is the person DROWSY or UNCONSCIOUS? 

  • Stay calm
  • If they’re unconscious or not breathing get help call the emergency services - DIAL 999 - It’s vital if you know what they’ve used or taken to let the ambulance crew know so that they can get the best help they can
  • Place in the recovery position
  • Don’t give them anything to drink to wake them up or put them in a cold bath

Remember excitement or stimulation can aggravate hallucinations or provoke violence.

What's the recovery position?

If a person is unconscious but is breathing and has no other life-threatening conditions, they should be placed in the recovery position.  Putting someone in the recovery position will ensure their airway remains clear and open. It also ensures that any vomit or fluid will not cause them to choke.

  • Roll the person onto their side with their arms and upper leg at right angles to the body to support them
  • Tuck their upper hand under the side of their head so that their head is on the back of the hand
  • Open their airway by tilting the head back and lifting the chin
  • Monitor their breathing and pulse continuously
  • If their injuries allow you to, turn the person onto their other side after 30 minutes

How do you help yourself or someone you know that has a problem with drugs?

There are lots of organisations that can help provide advice, information, support, harm reduction services, counselling services, housing support services and structured day programmes.

Someone with a problem with is drugs entitled to receive the same care as anyone with any other health problem.  With the right help and support it's possible to get drug free and stay that way.

What next?

A visit to the Doctor; be open and honest with concerns so that he can consider the best options available.  He might provide treatment himself or suggest a local specialist drug service.

Alternatively, self-referal to local drug treatment services, see our Help page for other organisations that you might find helpful.


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