HSE issues harm reduction information ahead of St. Patrick’s weekend

Media Release: 15th March 2019 

This St. Patrick’s weekend, the HSE is reminding people of the HSE’s harm reduction information, ahead of this bank holiday weekend, as part of the #SaferStudentNights campaign.

Dr. Eamon Keenan, HSE Clinical Lead for Addiction Service, said this harm reduction information comes on the back of a number of music and dance events organised for this bank holiday weekend.

“We are concerned about the amount of alcohol and other drugs that will be consumed during St Patrick’s Day events.“Evidence shows that moderate users of recreational drugs are more likely to ‘binge’ during holiday periods such as St. Patrick’s Day. People are now searching drugs.ie for a wide range of information on club drugs such as ‘speed’, ecstasy, ketamine, cocaine, GHB and ‘poppers’.

“The health risks, associated with drug use, are well documented. Our message this weekend is clear, it is always safer not to use drugs at all, if you decide to use this weekend, use one drug at a time, don’t mix substances and pace yourself this St Patrick’s Day.”

Harm reduction works; inform yourself, it could save your life or the life of a friend.

  • Talk to your friends about using drugs and research the risks on Drugs.ie
  • Can you trust the dealer? The risks are increased if you buy from an unknown person at an event.
  • What’s in the pill or powder? Don’t assume you know the content based on what you are sold. Self-reporting drug testing kits have limitations.
  • Start low and go slow - start with a very small dose to see how you react to the drug. Wait at least 2 hours before taking more.
  • Leave the mixing to the DJ - mixing drugs increases the risk of becoming unwell or overdose.
  • Stick together - Don’t leave anyone alone. Have a charged phone and establish a meeting point in case you are separated from your friends.
  • Keep it cool - Sip water but don’t drink over a pint an hour. Take breaks from dancing and give yourself time to cool down
  • Don’t be afraid to get help - if you or a friend becomes unwell after taking drugs you should get help immediately. Know where to go in the venue or call 112. Always be honest about what you think was taken. Emergency services are there to help.


For more information and support go to www.drugs.ie or you can freephone the HSE Drug Helpline on1800 459 459.


Start low and go slow

Last updated on: 15 / 03 / 2019