Be Safe over Summer – Drugs Advice

Outer Hebrides Alcohol and Drug Partnership Summer Safety Campaign

The Outer Hebrides Alcohol & Drug Partnership wants to help everyone stay safe, have a good time and be free from harm.  We want to make sure everyone stays safe and enjoys the summer season for all the right reasons. 

If you are planning a day or night out be sure to look after each other and that you know where everyone is going.  Whilst we do not encourage or condone the use of illegal drugs, they can impair your judgement. In recent years, the purity of drugs including cocaine and ecstasy has increased up to 10 times stronger than 10 years ago, so the strength of drugs can vary as can the content.   Cocaine use can cause adverse health effects such as dependency, psychiatric conditions, and ulceration of the nasal passage through snorting. There were 1,092 drug deaths in Scotland in 2022, and 66% of deaths were of people aged between 35 and 54 years old.   If you are visiting a mainland festival and decide to take any substance, consider accessing the forensic testing sites to ensure the drug is safe and help to reduce your risk of serious harm.    

If someone is going to take any drugs it is safer to start with a small amount, such as a quarter or half tablet and wait at least an hour to gauge the effects before considering taking any more. It is also safer to stick to the amount you have rather than buy more, so for safety reasons you know how much you have taken, and only take drugs in a safe environment. 

When you are out always be alert to ‘spiking’, where a person gives drugs to someone else without their consent.  Spiking is an offence, and anyone charged with this crime could face a prison sentence.  Drug spiking, using Ketamine or cocaine, can be very dangerous when mixed with alcohol, as the person can become unresponsive and could overdose. Signs to look out for include confusion, loss of co-ordination, slurred speech, and vomiting.  Less uncommon is spiking by needle, however if you suspect you or someone you know has been attacked with a needle, alert the venue manager, and contact the police immediately and don’t leave the person alone.  

Polydrug use is when an individual mixes drugs and alcohol which can increase health and harm risks.    Mixing cocaine with amphetamines or ecstasy can put a potentially lethal strain on the heart and it is best to avoid this.  If you prefer not to drink or take drugs, that’s good and it’s okay for you to say so and don’t be swayed by peer pressure. Your friends should understand and respect your decision.     

If you notice that one of your friends or for that matter anyone who may be on their own and has become unwell through possibly having taken drugs, and you are concerned for them, it is important that you seek help right away.   If someone falls unconscious it is vital that you put them in the recovery position.  

Recovery Position
1. Put the hand closest to you by the head (as if the person was waving)
2. Put the arm furthest away from you across the chest, so that the back of the hand rests against the cheek.
3. Hold the hand in place and lift up the knee furthest away from you, making sure the foot is planted firmly on the ground.
4. Push down on the bent leg to turn the person on their side

If someone suffers an opioid overdose, from drugs such as Heroin, Methadone, Buprenorphine and Oxycodone, as well as other illicit and prescribed opiate-based medications, Naloxone can be used to reverse the effects of the overdose.    You should then dial 999 for the ambulance to ensure the person received the appropriate medical help. 

Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol and Drugs (SFAD) offer a discreet click and deliver postal service for either a Naloxone prefilled injection or a nasal spray kit.  You can request a kit through their secure online portal – and training can be provided either via Scottish Drugs Forum e-learning or SFAD will provide training over the phone.

If you are drug driving, stop and think before you get behind that wheel that you could be risking the safety of yourself and others and can have wider implications in your life and that of others.  Being caught the night before or the morning after can result in a criminal record and even a sentence.  Some illegal drugs can also interfere with prescription tablets and impair your ability to drive, and this is an offence so please check with your GP.  

Drug misuse is a major public health issue and can cause high levels of harm to individuals, their families and relationships and the wider community.  If you are worried about your own, a friend or family member’s alcohol use there are several online sites as well as local services that can provide information and support, help lines and forums:

Alcoholics Anonymous Regional & Local Websites (

For further information and advice on Spiking, there are various websites that you can access: 

Spiking –

ThatsNotOK Spiked – Young Scot

Stop Spiking (

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