safer partying tips

Festivals, clubbing and parties can be lots of fun, but they can also get out of control.

It’s normal to want to hang out with your friends and have a good time. You might be faced with new opportunities and decisions when partying, so we’ve put together some handy tips to help you have fun and stay safer.

Know and set your own limits

Before you head out, have a think about what you’re up for.  This might include alcohol and other drugs or hook-ups. Chat with your friends so you’re all on the same page about what you want to do.

Knowing what you’re all into is a good way to help keep each other safe and make sure no-one's pressured into doing anything they’re not comfortable with.

Plan how you’ll get home after the party

It might sound like an obvious tip, but you don’t want to get stranded or end up in a car being driven by someone who is over the alcohol limit or has taken other drugs. There are heaps of options – you could use public transport, Uber, organise a lift, or have a designated driver. 

Look after each other when you’re partying

Buddying up and looking after each other when you’re out partying is super important. 

  • stick together as much as possible
  • help each other stay away from risky situations
  • fully charge your phones and take a mobile charger with you. Sometimes if there are too many people on the network at festivals, your phone won’t work, so have a back-up plan:
    • arrange a meeting point 
    • use live GPS tracking apps (like SearchParty)
    • use walkie-talkies, coordinate outfits, or take brightly coloured props.

Alcohol and other drugs

Alcohol and other drugs can seem like a normal part of life for many young people. It can be fun, lift your mood and boost your confidence. In the longer term though, when the high wears off, the after-effects can leave you feeling worse than before and can impact on your mental health and wellbeing.

If you’re going to use alcohol and other drugs, there are things you can do to help keep you safer and not push your mind or body too hard.

Try setting a limit and keep tabs on how much you’re drinking.  There are apps that can help with this, or you can use ‘notes’ in your phone. Try drinking water between alcoholic drinks, it can help you pace yourself and stay hydrated. And remember to eat! Alcohol on an empty stomach is a bad move.

Stay safer by always keeping an eye on your drink and not accepting any pre-opened drinks from others.  If you’re unsure, buy yourself another or decline the drink. We know this can get pricey or awkward, but it’s better to be safe and know what you’re drinking.

There’s no ‘safe way’ to take illicit drugs [e.g., ecstasy (MD, MDMA)]. It’s hard to know the strength, what they might have been mixed with or how they will affect you.

If you do choose to use, safer options include:

  • setting yourself a limit and sticking to it
  • finding out as much as you can about the drug/s you’re going to take
    • NSW and Victoria have sites where you can check out any drug warnings they know about
  • using pill testing if it’s available
  • avoiding using alone – if anything goes wrong, it’s good to have others around to help
  • telling your friends what you’re taking and how much. This makes it easier for them (and the ambulance officers/other supports) to know what to do if you need help
  • not mixing your drugs (including alcohol and prescription meds). It can get messy, unpredictable and increase the risk of bad experiences and overdose
  • trying a little bit first to see what the effects are. All drugs take different times to fully feel the effect
  • spacing your drugs out if you’re going to take more.


If you’re injecting drugs, remember to use clean injecting equipment, avoid sharing needles (or other injecting equipment) and dispose of everything safely.

Call 000 if anyone is passed out or in trouble and tell them as much as you can, this is so they can help - paramedics/ambos don't need to involve the police.

Sex, alcohol and other drugs, and consent

When we use alcohol or other drugs and are in a party environment, there can be more opportunities for hooking up, and our inhibitions can be lowered. Before heading out, it’s a good idea to think about what you’re OK with and not OK with doing. If you think it might happen, being prepped for sex is a great idea; take condoms/dental dams and lube.

Most importantly, before any sexual activity, it’s super important to always make sure you’ve given and received consent!

Sexual consent is about making sure you and your partner agree to have any type of sexual activity with each other. It helps make sure everyone has fun, is respected, and stays safe.  Mixing sex with alcohol or other drugs can make consent complicated. Some things to think about:

  • people’s judgement can be impaired if alcohol or other drugs are involved
  • if a person is too high/drunk or incapable of giving their consent, then you don’t have consent
  • if someone is passed out or asleep – you don’t have consent
  • anyone can change their mind at any time or stop at any moment
  • make sure no-one is forced or pressured into any kind of sexual contact.


Find more information about consent

At festivals

It’s always a good idea to figure out the support places when you arrive.

This might include the medical tent, volunteers, the info tent and any designated safe spaces such as Dancewize. These places are there to support you to feel safe emotionally and physically, so make sure to head to them if you need some support/want a friendly face to talk to. 

Recovering after all the fun

Whether you drank alcohol, took other drugs, or you had too much fun dancing or socialising, you might need some recovery time. The fastest way to recover is to look after yourself. Do some fun stuff including relaxing activities, catching up with your family and friends, eating well, getting some sleep and don’t forget to be kind to yourself.

Other useful resources

  • Your Room – find out more about specific drugs and their effects
  • Complete an interactive activity below:

For more information, to find your nearest headspace centre or for online and telephone support, visit eheadspace.

 

The headspace Clinical Reference Group oversee and approve clinical resources made available on this website.

Last reviewed 9 November 2021

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