With the days getting longer, the weather getting warmer and Aucklanders getting a little more freedom under Covid-19 restrictions, picnics are sounding pretty good right now. 

The great outdoors – whether that’s a mountaintop, a local park or an outdoor festie – carry some risks, so if you’re planning on using drugs outside on those long summer days, here are a few things to keep in mind. 

1. Prepare beforehand 

Taking drugs in a new environment can be full-on, even if it’s just the park down the road. It’s a good idea to get prepared beforehand by sussing out a safe, quiet space you can go if things get overwhelming. Make a plan for how to get to there and for how to get home. 

Using around others, especially if there is someone sober with you, is a safer choice than using alone. If something goes wrong, you will have people around who can get you help.  

2. Look after your body 

Some drugs can affect your ability to judge your levels of cold, heat, hunger and thirst. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the adventure and forget to eat, drink, or apply sunscreen. Dehydration and heat stroke aren’t fun ways to end a picnic. 

Cover your bases by bringing food, water and a raincoat with you. 

3. Ease your way in 

If it’s been a while since you last used drugs, ease your way into things by taking a lower dose than usual. Your tolerance has probably changed if you’ve been using drugs less over lockdown or winter. Once you’ve taken something, it’s best to give it an hour before you take more so you can give it time for the effects to kick in. 

It’s tempting to have a rager to kick off summer. But mixing drugs – including alcohol or prescription medicines – can make the effects and risks more unpredictable. 

You can read more here about mixing drugs.

4. Keep Covid in mind 

Many parts of the country still have Covid restrictions in place, and following them helps to stop the spread. Be aware of how the drugs you’re taking may make it harder to keep a distance from others. Don’t share pipes or other equipment with people from other bubbles. Read our top tips for using drugs in the time of Covid-19. 

The Level has heaps more information on staying well while using drugs - take a look around. 

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