Safer Student Nights
Safer Student Nights Initiative - February to April 2024
The HSE and Union of Students in Ireland are partnering to continue the annual Safer Student Nights online campaign to remind students to think about harm reduction measures if they choose to use drugs on a night out.
‘Safer Student Nights’ is an annual campaign that aims to make students aware of the current drug trends, risks and risk reduction. Through this campaign, we will share key messages aimed at students during February – April 2024.
It is always safer not to use at all and risks can increase based on the type of drug, its contents and strength, personal factors such as a person’s physical and mental health and the setting drugs are used.
Current drug trends of concern for third-level students
The MDMA market:
From our ‘Safer Nightlife’ Programme', we know that MDMA products can vary in strength, from lower to higher doses. Products can look the same but contain different contents. Therefore comparing pills/powders on past experience, online forms or pictures may not help guarantee the contents of the product you have.
We found that products can be high strength in Ireland, this means that it could be easier to take too much without knowing, which could lead to a medical emergency.
- Learn about MDMA and its effects here
- Find out more about high strength MDMA products
- Get MDMA harm reduction here
- See how MDMA interacts with other drugs here
- See our alerts from the HSE Safer Nightlife Progamme 2023 here
- See our drug emergency information
The cannabis market
There is a risk of drugs known as ‘synthetic cannabinoids’ appearing in herbal (plant material),vape/liquid, edibles sold as THC products in Ireland. A number of these substances have been found in Ireland, with 50% of edibles seized and analysed by Forensic Science Ireland found to contain these substances and not THC.
- Learn about cannabis and its effects here
- Find out about synthetic cannabinoids and get harm reduction here
- See the HSE 2023 alert on edibles containing synthetic cannabinoids here
- Download our edible harm reduction factsheet here
- See our drug emergency information here
Ketamine use is increasing in Ireland among the student population and people who attend nightlife events such as festivals. Through our festival outreach, we found that people were unaware of the short and long term effects of ketamine and were experiencing negative mental health experiences, were becoming unwell and having seizures after use. Long term and frequent use can lead to both bladder and mental health concerns.
- Learn about ketamine and its effects here
- Get ketamine harm reduction here
- Download our ketamine poster here
- See our publication on ketamine here
- Learn how ketamine interacts with other drugs here
- See our drug emergency information here
Reduce the harms
It's always safer not to use and some people may be at greater risk due to personal factors such as their physical or mental health status which is unique to them. Avoid use if you have underlying conditions, mental health concerns, a family history of mental health concerns or if you are feeling low, depressed or anxious. This can increase the risks for you.
- Be in the know before you go – research and stay up to date with drug market trends
- Avoid use in new settings, leave no one alone, stick together, have a friend you trust with you
- Start low and go slow – take a small test dose. Pace yourself and leave time between use. If you don’t react as expected don’t take any more.
- Avoid using with other drugs, this includes with alcohol and prescription medication. Mixing drugs increases risks and can be unpreditable
- Don't be afraid to get medical help if you or a friend becomes unwell or feels suicidal after using drugs. In in doubt, get it checked out.
How you can take part
- Please share tweets and Facebook posts from @drugsdotie/ http://www.facebook.com/Drugs.ie/
- Please share messages on your social media platforms using the #SaferStudentNights hash tag
Find a local support service through the Drugs.ie National Directory of Drug and Alcohol Services
For information and support on drugs and alcohol visit Drugs.ie The HSE Drugs & Alcohol Helpline can be reached on freephone 1800 459 459 from Monday – Friday 9:30 – 5:30pm or email email@example.com