Party safer

Last updated: June 2023

Our new online Party Safer course is now available! Learn about how and where to access Naloxone, reduce health risks using party safer tips, how to identify and respond to an overdose and find information on local supports. Take it at your own pace and get a certificate of completion.

You don’t need to drink alcohol or use drugs to enjoy yourself at a party or an event! If you choose to consume, follow the #PartySafer tips below to reduce your risks.

Share these tips with your friends!

Stay with friends you trust and look out for each other

Make sure you and your friends are looking out for each other. If possible, have at least one friend with you who is not using substances. Pay attention to things like:

  • Someone who is alone and being followed;
  • Catcalling;
  • Something being added to a drink;
  • Unwanted touching;
  • Emotional violence; 
  • Bullying or;
  • Physical violence.

You can play an active role in preventing violence by choosing to respond safely to a potentially harmful situation. You don't have to physically intervene, simply offer a distraction by asking them a question, or starting a conversation so you can check in. You can also alert security or tell a staff member.

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Only you can give consent for yourself

Consent is the active process of willingly, enthusiastically and freely agreeing to engage in sexual activity on an ongoing basis without manipulation or threats. Everyone needs to accept and respect each other’s answers. Do not pressure someone.

Remember- consent can always be withdrawn.

If you are engaging in sexual activity, make sure you and your partner use a condom and/or an oral dam. This will help protect against Sexually Transmitted and Blood Borne Infections (STBBIs). Order free condoms here.

Persons who are under the influence of drugs and alcohol, asleep, unable to understand what they are saying yes to, or under severe pressure are not able to freely and willingly consent to participate in a sexual activity.

For information on consent, visit our Consent page.

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Plan a safe ride home

Substances impair coordination, attention, judgement, and reaction time. All of these are important for keeping yourself and others injury free. Always plan a safe ride home before you start consuming substances. Plan a safe ride with a friend or use public transit and/or a ridesharing service. Don't drive yourself, bike, skateboard or walk alone. If you do need to walk, make sure you stay as visible as possible to other road users and stay with at least one trusted friend who is not under the influence of a substance.

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Pace yourself and drink water

It can be easy to have too much. Here are tips to help you pace yourself:

Eat before you drink. Avoid chugging your drinks, or playing drinking games. Have a non-alcoholic drink (preferably water) for every alcoholic drink. Familiarize yourself with the standard drink size. Remember—it can take up to two hours to feel the effects of alcohol.
It takes seconds to minutes to feel the effects of smoking or vaping and 30 minutes to two hours to feel the effects of edibles. Start with a small amount and wait 30 minutes or more to feel the effects. Consider using strains that are lower in THC and have some CBD.
 Opioids/"Downers" (i.e., oxycodone, heroin, etc.)
Anything can be cut with fentanyl or carfentanil. You can’t see it, taste it, or smell it. Even the smallest amount of fentanyl or carfentanil (i.e., the size of a few grains of salt) can cause an opioid overdose. Do a test dose (tester) to check the strength of what you are using. Remember— if you have never used opioids, or have not used opioids in awhile, you have a higher chance of overdose. Never use alone. Carry naloxone!
 Stimulants/"Uppers" (i.e., hallucinogens, MDMA/ecstasy, cocaine, etc.)
Stimulants can be cut with fentanyl or carfentanil. Do testers to check the strength of what you are using. Take breaks from dancing and drink water, because stimulants can cause overheating and dehydration.

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Stick to one substance at a time

Using different substances together can increase impairment. This increases your chance of overdoses, accidents, and injuries. To reduce your risks:

  • Avoid mixing alcohol with other drugs or caffeinated beverages;
  • Avoid mixing drugs with prescription medication, over the counter drugs, benzodiazepines, opiates, and/or uppers;
  • If you are mixing, use one substance at a time, and take breaks between substances.

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Know how to ID an OD

Overdoses can happen to anyone. Learn the signs and symptoms, and how to respond! Overdose deaths are preventable.


Signs and symptoms may include

How to respond


  • Blue, cold, clammy skin
  • Vomiting
  • Not moving, not waking up
  • Slowed breathing
  • Loss of bladder and bowel control
Alcohol poisoning is a medical emergency. Do not let your friends “sleep it off.” Call 9-1-1 immediately, and place them in the recovery position.



  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Sleepiness
  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Psychosis
Do not leave them alone, try to remain calm, and encourage them to eat and drink water. If symptoms are severe, or if they could be a danger to themselves, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room.

Opioids/ "Downers" (i.e., oxycodone, heroin, fentanyl, carfentanil, etc.)

  • Breathing will be slow or absent
  • Lips and nails are blue
  • Person is not moving
  • Person may be choking
  • You can hear gurgling sounds or snoring
  • Not waking up
  • Skin feels cold and clammy
  • Pupils are tiny
An opioid overdose is a medical emergency. Call 9-1-1 right away, and then give naloxone to temporarily reverse the effects of the opioid overdose.

If you need to leave the person alone, place them in the recovery position.

For more information, visit

Stimulants/ "Uppers" (i.e., speed, methamphetamines, crack, cocaine, ecstasy, MDMA, etc.)


Hallucinogens (i.e., LSD, ketamine, magic mushrooms, etc.)

  • Psychosis
  • Erratic behavior  
  • Excessive sweating
  • Ringing in ears
  • Headache and/or dizziness
  • Chest pain
  • Rapid pulse
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Vomiting
  • Foaming at the mouth
  • Seizures
  • Collapse
  • Loss of consciousness
An overdose is a medical emergency. Call 9-1-1 immediately, and stay with the person if it is safe to do so. Help them remain calm and relaxed in a safe, quiet, dark room. Apply ice to the back of the person’s neck and encourage them to drink water.

If in doubt, give naloxone. Party drugs can be cut with fentanyl or carfentanil.

For more information, visit the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) website.

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Need help?

The Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act protects you, the person who is overdosing, and anyone at the scene from being charged with:

  • Simple possession of illegal drugs
  • Breaches in pre-trial release, probation orders, conditional sentences or parole related to simple possession

The Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act does not provide protection against charges for:

  • Selling illegal drugs
  • Outstanding arrest warrants
  • Offences other than simple possession of illegal drugs
  • Violating conditions of pre-trial release, probation orders, conditional sentences or parole for an offence that is not simple possession

Support is available for you, your friends and your family!

Check out the resources below:

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