“PARTYING (OR NOT) AT PRIDE” – part 3 by Nick Boyce
This is a continuation from Nick’s past two posts which discuss drug updates and things we should be aware of as gay/queer men in and around Pride.
If you’re taking HIV medications, be cautious if you’re taking any meds from the class known as Protease Inhibitors (PIs), such as Ritonavir. PI’s affect the levels of other meds and other drugs in your bloodstream; sometimes you may end up with more drugs in your bloodstream than you expected – you may need to take less of your recreational drugs than friends not on PIs. Check here for background info and some specifically know interactions.
If you’re taking anti-anxiety or anti-depressant drugs, be careful how these may interact with street drugs. Remember stimulants can make some people extra anxious, and they can also leave you feeling extra down when you sober up.
Last year, during Pride 2012, a business was giving out free samples of “IZMS”. This is a brand of “synthetic cannabis”. Some people report that it mimics the effects of weed or pot, but we really don’t know a lot about the short or long-term effects. Stick to real cannabis! Also, since last year, Health Canada and the Police are claiming these new products to be illegal, so they will likely confiscate them from you and, though unlikely, could charge you.
IT IS A DRUG! And it doesn’t tend to mix well with many other ones. Limit how much you drink when using other drugs - you’ll probably enjoy the other drugs more with less alcohol. Also, be super cautious if mixing alcohol with GHB or other downers (oxy, methadone and other, opiates)… get ready to throw-up if you mix with K… and remember alcohol dehydrates you, so keep drinking water as you go.
HELPING OUT A FRIEND
Sometimes we over do it. Most often this just ends up being a messy or embarrassing situation… Occasionally it can be more serious. An overdose (OD) happens when you take too much of a drug (or combination of drugs) and it overwhelms your body. ODs do not have to be fatal! The difference between life and death often depends on how you take care of the person who has overdosed. A ruined party is worth making sure someone is OK... there are always other parties. Read more about overdose and how to respond.
CUTTING BACK, TIME OUTS, OR STOPPING
If you think you want to reduce your drug use, want or need to take a break, or are looking to quit, here are some places to connect with:
Rainbow Services (LGBTTTIQ), Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
Connex operates three helplines that provide health services information for people experiencing problems with drugs or alcohol, mental illness, or gambling.
The Drug and Alcohol Helpline
24/7. Confidential. Anonymous. Free. 1-800-565-8603
HIV Concerns or Counselling in Toronto
HIV Testing in Ontario
Nick Boyce has played and worked in and around various nightclub and party scenes for the last 15 years. He currently educates social and healthcare professionals about drug use and harm reduction. Unfortunately, his recovery time from late nights sometimes takes longer than it used to.
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