Exams Harm Reduction

Exams done? Here’s how to celebrate safely

Reading Time: 4 minutes

This article contains references to recreational drug use, the consumption of alcohol and drink spikings.

Finally, exams are ending! If you’ll be out celebrating, plan on drinking or taking drugs, here are some tips you can follow to keep you and your mates safe.

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  1. Share your location with friends and try to stick with them

Before you head out make sure your phone is fully charged and share your location with your friends on WhatsApp or Snapchat, either individually or in a group chat.

Stick together while you’re out. If you do get separated, use the app to find each other.

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  1. If you drink, make sure your drinking works for you

Whilst increasing numbers of young people are choosing not to drink, for lots of students drinking will be a big part of celebrating the end of exams.

If you’ve ever not made it out after pre drinks, forgotten bits of a night out, said something you regret, or cancelled plans because of a hangover, here are some super simple tips to help you fine tune your drinking.

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  1. Use drugs? What’s in the bag?

The only way to ensure you aren’t harmed from drugs is to avoid using them. If you choose to use drugs anyway, how do you know what’s *actually* in a bag of ket, MDMA or coke? How can you tell if it’s been cut with something dodgy? Or how strong it is and what affect it will have on you?

Have a read through our harm reduction advice here to find out how to access testing kits, dose more safely, and get help if something goes wrong.

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  1. Take control of your sexual wellbeing

If you’re having sex, a check-up every now and again is a good habit – it gives you the assurance that you won’t pass anything on to someone unknowingly.

Read more about sexual health, sexual wellbeing and sexual empowerment on our Student Support Team’s microsite.

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  1. Check out anti-spiking tools

We shouldn’t live in a world where spiking is a concern, but sadly reports of spikings increased in recent years. In October 2021, following a protest attended by many of our students, Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, and Sacha Lord, the Night Time Economy Adviser for Greater Manchester, announced the creation of a new Anti-Spiking Partnership.

As a result, many venues in Manchester now provide anti-spiking tools and test kits. And if you feel unsafe, vulnerable or threatened you can ask for help by approaching staff in these venues and asking them for ‘Angela’. This code-phrase indicates to staff that you need help and a trained member of staff will then support and assist you.

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  1. Get help if you think you’ve been spiked

If you think you’ve been spiked, get a friend to help you report it to venue staff so that they can assist you. If that isn’t possible, ask a friend to help take you home or to hospital if you feel seriously unwell. If you are alone or feel that you are in immediate danger, call 999.

Substances can leave the body after 12 hours so it’s important to contact the police if you think you have been spiked, so they can test your urine or blood. You can tell the University what has happened by making a report on Report + Support. Reports are taken extremely seriously.

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  1. Remember not everyone is getting on it

If you’re hosting a party, having pre-drinks or an afters, be mindful that most people living in Fallowfield, Withington and other suburbs of Manchester aren’t students. Be kind. Loud music and noise can have a real impact on people’s mental health and their quality of life.

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