Everyone is figuring out what works for them right now. Here are some suggestions that could help prevent problems if you've chosen to use drugs during lockdown:


Think about whether you are in the right environment and headspace to be using right now. Alcohol and other drugs can make worried or stressed feelings worse. Consider using less if you find that's happening to you or if it's disrupting your sleep.

Let someone know if you're feeling like getting very out of it. Talk about what you're planning on using and how much. Consider setting up a plan with them, so they know how to help you if things go wrong. They may need to stay sober so they can look out for you.

Stay safe around other people. If you are buying drugs during level 3:

  • Wear a mask
  • Make the pick-up contactless and stay 2 metres apart
  • Keep track of where you've been - the police have given their assurance that they won't use the NZ Covid Tracer app data, or disclosures to contact tracers, for drug prosecutions.
  • Stay home and get a test if you're sick

Know what to expect from the drug you're using and how long those effects will last. More information about what to expect is on the Drug information pages.

You might also want to consider using reagent tests or fentanyl test strips to check what you think you have is actually what it is. There were several reports (like this one of eutylone being sold as MDMA) over the last year of people purchasing drugs that actually contained a different and often more dangerous substance. These tests can be bought online at The Hemp Store and Cosmic Corner. These tests can only tell you if there is the presence of a drug- not if it is mixed with something else. 

Clean all equipment and surfaces before and after use. Wipe down baggies or packages of drugs first. Wash your hands well with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, then dry. Each person should use their own sterile equipment (such as needles, straws).

If you take medications, make sure you know how using alcohol or other drugs at the same time could affect you. Mixing drugs and medications together can create unpredictable and unpleasant effects, so it is best to avoid it or take the doses as far apart as you can. If you do choose to mix, make sure you do your research about dangerous interactions- visit tripsit for more information. 

Make sure your method of use (IV, smoking, snorting) is as safe as it can be. COVID-19 can cause breathing issues, and inhaling drugs damages your respiratory system, including your throat and lungs. If you decide to switch to consuming drugs orally, remember that it can take longer for them to take effect. Wait at least 1 hour before considering taking more.

You can still get medical help if you need it. Sometimes things go wrong - remember that emergency health services are still operating in lockdown. If you or someone around you becomes unwell from using alcohol or other drugs, it is always OK to get help. These services have protocols in place to make sure that you stay safe from COVID19 when you are receiving treatment. 

Keep accessing services or support if you need them. Needle Exchanges, opioid treatment services, and other alcohol and drug services still operate in lockdown. Many are available virtually too (such as on ZOOM or over the phone).

You can find an updated list of Needle Exchange hours here.

Lastly, be kind to yourself if things don't go according to plan. It happens and it’s OK not to be perfect. If you have had an unexpected effect, you can report it to High Alert.

For more information, see the Safer using section:


Advice from people who have used during lockdown

Thinking about using drugs during lockdown? Here are some practical tips from people who did.

Advice from the NZ Needle Exchange

Lockdown can be a really challenging time for people that inject drugs regularly. Here's some advice on how to look after yourself and be safer.