Party smart: Don’t mix and take the risk

Party smart: Don’t mix and take the risk

Partying and attending events is an inherent part of life – and for many, these events go hand-in-hand with certain behaviours, such as drug-taking. According to the 2022–2023 National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS), roughly 47% of Australians had taken illicit substances at some point in their life, including ‘party drugs’ like cocaine and MDMA. 

One of the most significant risks of taking drugs is what’s known as ‘poly drug use’, or mixing two or more drugs. Whether done intentionally or accidentally, this behaviour can lead to serious health and social consequences – which is why awareness is key to ensuring you stay safe in situations where you may be engaging in drug-taking, such as at parties or music festivals. 

Keep reading to learn more about party drugs, the potential effects of mixing drugs, and how to safely and quickly test yourself for drugs with Drug Alert rapid testing kits

What are party drugs? 

So, which substances are actually considered ‘party drugs’? Well, the term is relatively broad, and encapsulates the three types of drug: stimulants, depressants, and hallucinogens. Common party drugs include cocaine, MDMA (also known as molly), and ketamine. Generally, marijuana is not classed as a party drug, as it is a depressant and isn’t conducive with the high-energy demands of partying at clubs, bars, or music festivals – however some people prefer to use depressants, including marijuana, benzodiazepines (benzos), and opiates, to ‘take the edge off’ or feel relaxed in demanding social situations. Hallucinogens like LSD (also known as acid) and magic mushrooms (psilocybin) are also grouped in with party drugs. These are psychoactive drugs that cause the user to hallucinate or experience an altered state of mind. 

What are the potential risks of taking party drugs? 

Most people take drugs at parties and events to loosen up, enjoy themselves more, or dissociate from their surroundings. While none of these motivations are inherently bad, there are still potential dangers to be aware of if you decide to take drugs on a night out. The more awareness you have of these risks, the better equipped you’ll be to keep yourself safe.

Health effects

Perhaps the most significant risk to be aware of when taking illicit drugs is their impact on your physical health. Without accessible pill testing – an initiative that is slowly gaining traction in Australia, but is still years, if not decades, away from being widely available – we cannot know exactly what is in any illicit substance. Many different party drugs are ‘cut’ with other substances, which can accelerate their effects or make them more detrimental to your health. Some of the potential side effects of drug consumption include spikes in temperature, nausea, vomiting, loss of consciousness, headaches, and mood changes. In really serious cases, these effects can be even more adverse, leading to heart problems, strokes, and even death. 

Nightlife safety concerns

Drugs and alcohol can have different effects on everyone – while some people may remain completely in control when taking recreational drugs, others may experience side effects like loss of consciousness. Passing out from drug use is common, and can put you in extremely compromising situations by increasing your risk of getting lost, hurting yourself, separating from friends, engaging in dangerous activities, or being taken advantage of. If you feel unwell when taking recreational drugs at a festival, event or party, seek medical help immediately.

Increased likelihood of violence

When on drugs, some people have a tendency to become agitated or act violently, which can lead to serious altercations, and historically, has been the driver behind many dangerous crimes such as assault. There are widespread consequences for both the perpetrator and the victim/s in these kinds of situations. While many major events like festivals have violence prevention strategies and extensive security in place, it is still critical to be aware of the risks you may expose yourself to if you engage in illicit drug-taking. 

What happens when you mix drugs together? 

One of the highest-risk elements of party drug use is mixing your substances – a study conducted by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare in 2022 showed that 37.5% of recorded drug-related deaths involved 3 or more types of drug. This doesn’t just extend to illicit substances, either. Drugs you might assume are harmless or low-risk, such as prescription drugs, alcohol, and even caffeine, can provoke extremely adverse reactions when paired with a recreational drug like cocaine or MDMA.

Just like any drug-taking activity, mixing drugs can often have unpredictable and adverse consequences, including: 

  • Changes in heart rate, temperature, and blood pressure
  • Behavioural changes like increased agitation, anxiety attacks, or unpredictability 
  • Increased intoxication or loss of consciousness 
  • Significant health issues like heart attacks, strokes, or seizures
  • Overdose occasioning death 

Why take a drug test for party drugs? 

While the detrimental effects of mixing drugs usually occur when drugs are taken simultaneously, or within minutes or hours of one another, in rare cases toxicity can be delayed – so if you are voluntarily and regularly engaging in drug-taking, it’s critical to be aware of what may still be in your system before you think about taking another substance. The easiest way to ensure you know what’s present in your system, so you can make informed choices and avoid potentially life-threatening consequences, is to use an at-home drug testing kit. 99% accurate and ready in just 5 minutes, Drug Alert drug testing kits are a quick and easy way to understand what’s in your system – and they may just save your life. 

Drug Alert rapid drug testing kits are also critical tools to have access to if you believe you have been given a substance without your knowledge. As long as the substance you have ingested is one of the 10 street drugs listed on our Street & Prescription Drugs Urine Test, or the 6 drugs tested with our Street Drugs Urine Test, you’ll receive confirmation in just minutes, and can seek the appropriate assistance, whether it’s support with getting home safely or seeking medical advice. 

What kind of drugs show up on drug tests? 

Our at-home drug test kits can test for a range of different substances, including common party drugs like cocaine, MDMA, methamphetamines (ice), benzodiazepines (benzos), and opiates. However, it’s important to note that Drug Alert drug testing kits do not test for substances like rohypnol, GHB, and GBL. As these can be difficult-to-detect drugs, you will need to seek a comprehensive drug test from a doctor or hospital as quickly as possible if you think you have been spiked.

Stay safe with Drug Alert rapid drug tests

Everyone should understand how to look after themselves and others if experiencing the negative effects of taking drugs. In addition to harm reduction strategies like getting adequate hydration, removing yourself from crowds where your heart rate or blood pressure could spike, and staying cool, drug testing kits can be an important resource to have on hand in situations where lots of people may be taking drugs, such as music festivals. When it comes to staying safe, drug awareness is key – which is why the ability to self-test with a Drug Alert test kit is a powerful tool for anyone who may find themselves in a risky situation. 

Rapid test kits produced by Drug Alert only provide a qualitative preliminary analytical test result. A secondary analytical method must be used to obtain a confirmed result.