Substances and Harm Reduction

Written by Tom Howells


We’re all adults in the adult space, so pretending that drugs aren’t used by some of us doesn’t help anyone. What is helpful is real advice about changing behaviours in order to minimise the inherent risks. In light of tragic events within our industry we wanted to share some insight into safer drug use and what steps you can take to reduce risk to yourself and others if you do choose to use drugs/alcohol.

The most important step is to make sure you know what you are taking is what you’ve been told it is. That doesn’t mean asking the person you sourced it from, it means at least using test kits/fentanyl testing strips, or ideally full clinical testing (if available in your area). Fentanyl is becoming more and more commonly used to increase the apparent ‘potency’ of different drugs, and this synthetic opioid is 50 times more potent than heroin, so even trace amounts cut into your drugs can mean the risk is dramatically increased.

With cases of drink spiking on the rise it is also important to make sure your drink doesn’t get anything unwanted added to it. It’s incredibly important to watch your drink at all times, cover the top if you aren’t certain you can keep it safe, also some people feel safer drinking shots as there is less time for the drink to be tampered with before it is gone (although in this case it’s easier to drink more/more quickly than you wanted).  A large proportion of drink spiking is done by friends of the victim, and it can be meant as ‘fun’ or ‘a joke’ but the reality is the only person who knows what drugs somebody wants is that person themselves. Giving somebody something without their knowledge (even an extra shot of alcohol) can be the difference between fun or tragedy.

Equally important is keeping track of how much of your (hopefully tested) drugs or alcohol you are consuming. This is obviously hard to do on a night out but there are different ways to make that easier. Separating a large quantity into smaller doses in order to know your consumption, and how quickly you have consumed those drugs is a simple way of making sure you don’t end up going too far too quickly and causing yourself harm. That and only bringing the quantity you intend to consume will reduce the risk of unintentionally high doses. You can’t take what isn’t there!

Using alcohol/drugs when you’re emotionally distressed is a huge factor in how much risk you may place yourself in, it may be the reason you ignore the steps outlined above and take bigger risks and potentially bigger doses. This increases the risk of physical harm, but also the risk of harm to mental health. This coupled with the stigma surrounding drugs, the industry, and mental health is where Pineapple can help. Those facing tough times may feel their only solution is to hide their problems using substances, but relying on drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism can quickly spiral into addiction and further exacerbate mental health issues. Our team of therapists is there to make sure those facing these situations have a safe space to explore the issues that may lead them to abusing drugs and alcohol, and offer them help dealing with addiction. It can be incredibly hard for an individual to accept they need support and to reach out and ask, but our therapists ensure a completely safe space without stigma, and specific experience in the adult space giving them unparalleled insight into the issues we face.

Links: – USA, accepts international postage. DEA licensed drug testing laboratory. Postal fixed location. – Spain, European wide, accepts international postage. Fixed location. – UK based fixed location testing laboratory. – UK based pop-up testing clinics.


You are loved, we are listening – you are not alone. Apply for subsidized therapy with Pineapple Support here.


Photo by Shahadat Rahman on Unsplash