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And someone who knows what you might be going through is fab – the reassurance a friend can give is so valuable and of course if you feel unwell, then there is someone to take care of you. Your mates are the best harm reduction you have, so stick with them. If you’re at a festival and plan on taking a walk, let someone know – or better still maybe take someone with you, stick with your mates. If you’re not at home, then know where you’ll be spending the night and how you’ll get there.

In many countries supply is the simple act of passing a controlled drug to another person, money does not have to be exchanged for the offence to occur. Getting a criminal record for drug possession can be hugely damaging. USE IT SOLO: Don’t drink alcohol or use any other drugs that day, especially before you use. Most people who end up seeking Emergency Medical Treatment after taking MDMA have used other drugs and alcohol. GDS2018 found that over half were drunk before they took MDMA, 60% did not feel well in themselves at the start of the evening and 60% took more than usual. So taking MDMA that first time is definitely best enjoyed (at least on that first occasion) on its own. Having other drugs in your system, especially alcohol can make it difficult to assess the effects of a new drug and can sometimes increase the risk of unwanted effects. Other stimulant drugs can overstress your system leading to anxiety, panic and overheating.

And of course, it will confuse your assessment of what MDMA itself is actually like – the same as if you cover a new type of food in ketchup! DRUG QUALITY: Know as much about your drug and as far as possible trust the source. Although most pills and powders sold as MDMA do contain MDMA, not everything sold as MDMA does. Having your drugs tested is a good idea but know that many forms of testing can’t tell you how much MDMA is in your pills and cannot always detect the presence of other drugs. Reagent kits are very limited in their value although they can tell you if your drug quite simply does not contain MDMA. use much more sophisticated technology and can provide more robust and personalised information and good advice. In the UK anyone can send their drugs to get tested at WEDINOS. If you can’t get your drug tested then try to ensure what you use has previously been used with a positive review by someone you know and trust who is experienced and knows what they are talking about (not everyone who says they know, does!). But also know that people respond to drugs differently, so just because a mate was alright on a particular drug is no guarantee that you will be. Oh yes, and please don’t buy your first pill off a stranger at a festival. DOSE LOW: Start low, go slow and don’t re-dose for at least 2-3 hours. Less than half of first time users reported taking a test dose. Because some MDMA pills contain 3-4 x time as much as most people (especially first-time users) would like/need in single dose (75-100mg), we suggest starting with a quarter and to see how you go. With powder a crystal can look like it contains nothing, but once weighed and crushed it might be 250mg which is way too much for a first-time dose (or any other time dose come to think of it). Getting your dose weighed up is the best thing to do. It can take anywhere from 30-90 minutes to come up (even longer for a hard-pressed pill or if you have a full stomach), so don’t re-dose for at least 3 hours. That first small dose may only give you milder introduction to what the effect of MDMA can be like, but taking it cautiously first time will help to reduce the risk of unwanted potentially negative effects and feeling sick and confused. Re-dosing too early or with taking too big a dose initially are common mistakes among novice users. MDMA lasts 4-6 hours and redosing too early can lead to anxiety rather than increased pleasure. If you don’t get any feeling from your pill after an hour or 2 – don’t take another one. The chances are the drug you took is not MDMA – you don’t know what it is and redosing might increase the risks of overdosing on a dangerous drug like PMMA. SAFE SPACE AND TRAVELS: Make sure you are in a familiar and safe place, don’t drive / cycle and avoid cliffs, pools, ponds and other big bodies of water. Familiarity with your environments can provide reassurance when other things appear very strange. Because MDMA can also alter your sense of time, space and coordination it can be easy to accidentally hurt yourself if you misjudge your footing (for example if you’re high up near a window or cliff edge).

Staying (physically) on solid ground while your mind wonders is a good tip. And don’t drive or cycle – both can be really risky under the influence of MDMA. If you need to move – walking (or dancing) is the way to go. BE A PLANT – WELL WATERED: Stay well hydrated, avoid alcohol and keep cool. MDMA (like alcohol) can dehydrate you and if you’re off your head, you might forget to drink. MDMA can also make if difficult or not important to pee. If your clubbing or at a festival where the sun is shining (so probably not in the UK), dehydration and overheating are genuine risks. Drink a glass of water (or juice/other non-alcoholic drink) and if you feel too hot take some time out – and ask a mate to go with you with you. Signs of dehydration include feeling dizzy and faint, but don’t drink too much water either since very rarely (usually in combination with not peeing) this can lead to lowering of salt levels in your body.

Then stop dancing, get out of the sun, loosen any tight clothing and chill.

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