At Drink ‘n’ Drugs, we understand the unique needs and circumstances that the LGBTQ+ community experience. The founder of DnD is gay which allows us to truly understand and empathise with the experiences that many LGBTQ+ substance users and addicts find themselves in.
How Can We Help You?
- Are you concerned about your drug or alcohol use?
- Do you need someone to talk to?
- Do you want to cut down or quit?
- Do you simply want to be more safe?
What Support Is Available?
- One to one support
- Chemsex support
- Telephone and online support
- Referral for specialist GBL/GHB and alcohol detox and rehab Access to mutual aid
- Peer support groups
How To Refer Yourself
Drink ‘n’ Drugs offer drug and alcohol support for Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender women.
At Drink ‘n’ Drugs, we provide substance misuse and addiction support to all LGBTQ+ People, however we know that LGBT women can find it difficult to find someone they can trust to talk to. Our Substance Misuse Service is committed to providing an safe and welcoming space to women, and to achieve this we offer:
- One-to-one support sessions with female workers available
- A peer support group for LGBT women to help each other
- Access to all other groups and workshops
Our Top Tips To #PartySafe with Drugs & Alcohol:
There will always be some risk if you take drugs, as you never know what you are taking, and how strong it is, especially when you are mixing them with alcohol. The safest thing to do is to not take them at all. However if you do decide to use substances, we have a few tips on how to #PartySafe.
Know Your Mix
Mixing drugs and alcohol together can amplify the effect of some drugs and even create completely new substances, and this might seem fun, but it can be dangerous.
Some can have really bad reactions with each other and it can also make it easier to overdose. Because alcohol is a depressant, taking it with other depressants like G, ketamine or tranquilizers can cause you to pass out, and can interfere with your breathing or heart rate.
Mixing it with cocaine can make the effects of cocaine stronger but it can also increase the chance of side effects, and mixing alcohol with MDMA/ecstasy can make you get even more dehydrated.
The side effects of mixing drugs and alcohol can be incredibly dangerous and potentially life-threatening, and the safest thing to do is not mix them.
Keep Your Kit Together
It is always best to use your own drugs, alcohol and equipment rather than someone else’s as they may have mixed or cut their drugs with other drugs, and sharing your kit can expose you to blood borne viruses like HIV or Hepatitis C.
To make this easier, it is best to keep all of your own kit together and keep it separate from everyone else’s stuff. This also means that if you are at a chill-out, or house party and then you want to leave, it is easier to find all of your stuff because it is all in one spot. This is especially true once you become intoxicated or high!
Tell Your Friends Or Family
If you are going to be partying or going on a night out, make sure someone knows where you are going and what you will be doing. That way if you do need help, you can ring them. They shouldn’t judge you or tell you off, but let you know that they are there if you need them.
Top Tip: Whichever friend or family member you tell where you’re going, agree a safe word. This is a simply word you can say over the phone or by text if things go wrong and you need help. This could be something simple such as “I’m tired” or “wakey wakey”.
Set A Spending Limit
Try to set a limit of how much you will spend at the party or night out, including travel and any money you might want for food, and make sure you don’t spend your taxi money on drugs!
Some people find it helpful to leave their bank cards at home so they can’t be tempted to get more money out, but this could end up in a situation where you don’t have enough money to get home. If you do leave your card at home, also leave some cash somewhere that is easy to find so that you can offer to run in to your house and grab the cash to give to your taxi driver.
Remember, make sure you don’t spend your taxi money on drugs or alcohol!
A lot of drugs can make you feel hot and/or dehydrated, which is made worse if you are drinking alcohol, so it is important to stay cool and drink water every now and then (on MDMA it is recommended to have about 500ml every hour).
Your urine can show if you are dehydrated, it should be clear, and if it is a dark yellow or brown colour, then you are dehydrated. It is fine to sweat, this is your bodies way of keeping you cool, but if you feel too hot and stop sweating you should get medical attention straight away!
How Are You Using Yours?
People use substances differently so below are some of our top tips to keep in mind whichever way you use your drugs.
Our Top Tips To #PartySafe When You Swallow Drugs:
Swallowing or dropping is a common way of taking drugs, and is most often done with pills or powders that can be put inside a capsule or wrapped in a cigarette paper and swallowed (sometimes called bombing). Others you can dilute and then drink, and lastly you can also mix drugs with food or cook it into other food.
There are also some drugs that you should never swallow, like poppers.
When swallowing drugs, they can take a little bit longer than sniffing, injecting and smoking to get into yours system, so go steady and don’t double drop! Try waiting at least one hour between doses to see if it has an effect, you can always take more, but you cannot take less once you’ve swallowed it!
Dilute Your Mix
When swallowing liquids like G, it is important you dilute it down as it can burn your mouth and throat. It is best to dilute with fruit juice or a soft drink rather than an alcoholic drink as this could potentially interact with the drugs you are swallowing.
When you dilute, you also need to keep track of how much you are taking, and you can do this by measuring it out with a needless syringe.
Our Top Tips to #PartySafe when you sniff drugs:
Sniffing drugs can damage your nostrils and the septum, (the fleshy cartilage between your nostrils) so it is important to alternate which nostril you use so that after a party, it has more time to heal.
Use Your Own Kit
If you use someone else’s kit, traces of blood can pass from one irritated or raw nose to another. Hepatitis C can spread when people share kit used for snorting such as rolled up banknotes, straws or nasal inhalers (sometimes called bullets).
If you use banknotes they may have been used for snorting before and could still be contaminated, especially as Hepatitis C can live outside the body for three weeks. Post-it notes or coloured drinking straws are a safe alternative, and if there are several people, try to make sure everyone uses their own colour, and use a fresh one each time.
Rinse It Out
Rinse your nose out right away with some water, or a salt-water nasal spray, and this get rid of any residue in your nose, and stop it from doing any more damage.
Our Top Tips To #PartySafe When You Smoke Drugs:
If you inhale quickly, the air you bring in to your lungs will be hotter and can damage your lungs more, If you take a slow breath the smoke will travel slower, which gives it more time to cool down. Using a bong can help to cool down the smoke, and it also removes some of the impurities found in smoke.
Switch To Vaping
Vapourising drugs at a higher temperature helps to remove more of the impurities, and the water vapour that you inhale is much gentler on the lungs than the smoke. It can take a while to get used to if you have typically smoked, and it might even make you cough more, but in the long run it is gentler on your lungs.
Protect Your Lips
Wrapping a rubber band around the pipe to protect against burning. You can also get syphilis and herpes from sharing smoking equipment, and if you and someone you are sharing a pipe and have cuts on your lip, or you are using a piece of foil which can easily cut your lip you can potentially get HIV and Hepatitis C. Using a pyrex pipe makes it less likely to shatter, which will also help to prevent cuts to your lip.
Our Top Tips To #PartySafe When You Slam/Inject Drugs:
Slamming or Injecting is one of the riskiest ways to party. If you haven’t started injecting – don’t start now.
It is always best to switch to a non-injectable version of the drug if you can. Friday/Monday have a really detailed guide on how to inject safely which you can find by clicking here, but we have put together a few tips to help you #PartySafe. You can also find our article looking at harm reduction by clicking here.
Rotate Your Sites
Different drugs need to be injected into different sites, steroids for example get injected into the buttocks, but you would typically inject most other drugs such as heroin into a vein.
Never inject into an artery because their is too much pressure and this can cause heavy bleeding. If you do push into an artery, pull the needle out and apply lots of pressure to the site for a few minutes. Don’t re-use the same site as this can cause the veins to scar and collapse.
Use Your Own Kit
If you share equipment, traces of blood can pass from one needle to another. If you share drugs and put your needle in to draw it up, you can potentially put your blood into the drugs, or pick up other peoples blood when you do. This can put you at risk of HIV and Hepatitis B and C and other serious infections.
Use single use injecting equipment which you can get for free from your local needle exchange. These services are free. You can find your nearest needle exchange by searching online or by asking your local pharmacy or GP surgery.
Top Tip: Use the smallest size/gauge needle as you can. The bigger you use, the more quickly you’ll damage your vein and could cause more problems in surrounding tissue.
Filter It Before You Draw It Up
Filtering drugs as you draw up through the needle can help to remove a lot of impurities, especially if you are using a powder that is mixed with water. You can use cotton wool, tampons or cigarette filters which all work really well and are a little bit cheaper than other alternatives. If you get single use spoons from your local needle exchange program, they often come with filters included already.
Keep It Clean
Injecting into a clean site on your body can reduce the risk of infection, which you can do by washing it with warm, soapy water and then rinsing the soap off or using alcohol swabs.
You also want to clean your hands and not touch anything dirty until you have finished injecting. If you are mixing a powder, you also want to use sterilised water, which you can do by boiling it and then letting it cool completely.
Once you have finished with a needle, re-apply the needle cap and put the needle into a sharps bin or put somewhere that people aren’t going to scratch themselves with it. You can get these free from your local needle exchange as well as safely dispose of full sharps bins for free.
Do You Use Other Ways To Party?
Some people take drugs in other ways, such as using a needless syringe to inject drugs up their bum, or putting a pill on their finger and inserting this into their bum, which is sometimes called a booty bump.
People do this because the lining of the rectum can absorb drugs quickly and it gives a similar hit to injecting, without the risk of using needles. This is also a risk though, as drugs will enter your blood easily, which means you will need way less to feel the same effect.
Some drugs like G should not be injected up the bum as they will irritate and burn the skin, and make it vulnerable to infection, especially if you have anal sex afterwards.
Drink ‘n’ Drugs can provide advice and support around GBL dependency and can arrange for you to start a medically assisted detox and provide after care support for you.
If you have become dependent on GBL your withdrawals can result in shakes, sweats, anxiety and sleeplessness and you should continue taking your GBL.
Try to take safe amounts at regular times and seek help as soon as possible
If you are experiencing any withdrawal symptoms and have run out of GBL, present at A and E as soon as possible and be honest about your situation.
Avoid using other substances on top of your GBL especially depressants such as alcohol, ketamine and other tranquillisers.
If you have been drinking large amounts of alcohol for a long period of time, you may experience side effects of going ‘cold turkey’. In fact, stopping your alcohol consumption all together, may be dangerous for your body.
Continue drinking alcohol in safe amounts and contact your GP or local community based drug and alcohol service. You can find your nearest drug and alcohol service on our help and support page here.
It can be hard and scary to start having sober sex. Many LGBT people use drugs and/or alcohol to cope with bad feelings they might have and this may affect their sex life. Addiction and/or trauma can also make it difficult for people to have sober sex.
Here are some tips for having sober sex:
1. Identify Your Triggers
Being in certain environments can ‘trigger’ your desire to take drugs and/or alcohol, so identify what that is and try and avoid it! It might be going to a certain venue, visiting a hook-up site or being alone and bored.
2. Explore Sex On Your Own
Get to know your body. Spend time on your own thinking about the sort of sex you want to have, what you find pleasurable and what sex you don’t want to have. Many people find that sexual activities that are pleasurable when under the influence of drugs/alcohol may not be as pleasurable when sober.
3. Learn How To Talk About Sex
A lot of people find that it is easier to talk about sex and desire when they are under the influence. Having sober conversations about sex and intimacy can be difficult for some people.
We recommend using this quick sex checklist. It will help you understand what sort of sex you’re into and how to communicate with a partner about it. You could even give it to your sexual partner to fill in too! This worksheet is inclusive of all genders.
4. Be Kind To Yourself
It can be difficult to have sober sex, especially if this is something you have rarely or never done.
Accept that sex may feel different when sober and it may take some time to get used to. You might find that your sex drive increases or decreases or that certain sex acts can feel more or less pleasurable. It’s also ok to ask for help if you need it.
The current guidance from the government is to practice physical distancing with people outside of your household to reduce health risks to individuals and the spread of COVID-19. Despite this significant risk, we understand that some continue to have sex with people outside of their householdp. We are committed to helping everybody stay as safe as possible – it’s better that people have safer sex than unsafe sex. For more information on sex and coronavirus, visit http://lgbt.foundation/sexualhealth/sexduringcovid-19pandemic
If avoiding chemsex at the moment is unrealistic for you, or if you’re triggered by isolation and struggling with addiction, here is some more information on support and ways to reduce your risk (http://lgbt.foundation/chemsex/chemsafe-during-coronavirus)
Chemsex can be linked to, or cause, feelings of guilt or shame, which can make people believe that they have done something wrong or are a bad person. If you are feeling this way about your chemsex, and you want to talk about it, contact Drink ‘n’ Drugs.