Check in with your drug use this festival season: FUN or dysFUNctional?

Our new mascot Lil Pinger’s been hitting the bottle pretty hard and we think it’s time for an intervention.  She’s been neglecting her grass-eating and her social gambolling. All the dirt piles she used to be passionate about climbing remain woefully un-bounced upon. It’s just “bottle, bottle, bottle” with her lately. 

It’s important to recognise how easily ‘recreational’ drug use can turn into ‘problematic’ drug use. A good rule of thumb is asking whether your drug use has negatively impacted other areas of your life – particularly your physical or mental health, your relationships, or your financial stability and employment. Here are some questions you can ask to check in with yourself about your drug use

  • Do you know what’s in your drugs, and which other substances are dangerous to mix them with (including alcohol and prescription medications)?
  • Can you get through the week without using drugs? Do you use drugs as a way to cope with problems in your life?
  • Do you feel like you need drugs for parties or other social situations?
  • Is it easy for you to take significant breaks from drug use? If drugs are available during these breaks, how easy do you find it to turn them down?
  • Do you feel badly or guilty about your drug use? 
  • Has your drug use created problems between you and your partner, friends or family? 
  • Have you been in trouble at work, had to take time off, or lost a job because of drug use?
  • Has your drug use contributed to a drop in taking care of yourself, e.g. have personal hygiene, motivation, sociability or mental health slipped as a consequence of using?
  • Have you been in fights, personal danger, or had times you don’t remember things when under the influence of drugs? 
  • Have you experienced withdrawal symptoms or had medical problems as a result of your drug use (e.g. memory loss, convulsions, psychological distress, hospitalisation etc.)?

Festival season is fun and we know that for a lot of you recreational drugs will be involved. Wherever possible we’ll be there to check your gear and help out with friendly advice but remember, it’s all fun and games until it begins to impact your life, well-being and relationships. Harm reduction is about looking after yourself and each other. Take time to check in with yourself and your friends as we head into festival season, and if you feel you may be slipping into difficult territory reach out to loved ones or your GP. There are also great resources for your next steps available here and here.

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