Chemsex



If you are already into chemsex, or have heard about it and want to know more - this resource is designed to help you make some informed choices. 

Most often chemsex refers to sex under the influence of drugs such as methamphetamine (P) and GHB/GBL (G). Also called ‘party and play’ or ‘PnP’, it often involves condomless group sex.

Chemsex is not as common as you might think and it can mean different things to different people. International research suggests only 5-7% of men who have sex with men have chemsex each year, and it is unlikely to be the kind of sex they have every time. 

Chemsex is not as prevalent in NZ, but you may still meet guys, or be a guy, who like to drugs during sex and knowing a little about chemsex will help you negotiate the kind of sex you do or don't want to have - so it's still important to learn a bit about it.

There are heaps of risk factors linked to chemsex. It’s important to know the risks and take them into account when you're partying. It’s also a great idea to share this information with friends who you're partying with, especially if they are new to chemsex and might need advice on how to use drug more safely.

If you are considering trying chemsex yourself, it’s important to know that chems can be manageable for some, but for others they can become a problem.

There is no such thing as a safe level of drug use. 

If you do choose to go ahead, the harm-reduction advice on this page is essential. Start small and get to know your limits. Look after the people around you and keep checking in with your sexual partners, to make sure that consent continues to be given. 

Some of the risks to consider include:

  • Drug overdose
  • HIV transmission
  • STIs
  • Non-consensual sex
  • Addiction

Sections

Reduce your risk of acquiring HIV and other STIs The nuts and bolts of sexualised drug use (chemsex) Harm reduction for common chems If things get hairy(er) Acknowledgements and Disclaimers

Reduce your risk of acquiring HIV and other STIs 

Testing, testing, is this on? 

Getting tested is super important and a great way to stay informed and know what the best harm reduction strategy is for you. 

If you are having chemsex and not using condoms, your risk of contracting STIs is quite high as sessions tend to be longer and involve multiple partners. With HIV it's a little different as the are other ways to prevent transmission than condoms - the following sections will go into prevention. If you are living with HIV, you are still at risk of other STIs - so regular screenings are essential.  

Not every STI has symptoms and having one increases the risk of getting others.

Ensure you have a comprehensive sexual health check at least every six months (every three ideally) with swabs and a blood test. If any come back positive - get connected to treatment immediately. The New Zealand AIDS Foundation can help with this and provide support. You can also test at a sexual health clinic or book in to see your GP.

Make sure you are getting the following tests whenever you have a sexual health screen:

  • Urine sample plus throat and rectal swabs for chlamydia, gonorrhoea
  • Blood tests for HIV, syphilis, hepatitis C (especially important if you have been injecting drugs) 
  • It's also a good idea check you have up-to-date hepatitis A & B vaccinations as well as HPV 

Be PrEPared

If you are HIV-negative, using PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) will significantly reduce the risk of acquiring HIV (up to 99%). If you are having chemsex, and you can access public healthcare in New Zealand, you already meet the criteria to receive publicly funded PrEP and can get a prescription at your local sexual health centre or GP. It costs $5 to fill a prescription that lasts for 3 months, so it’s a really affordable and incredibly effective HIV prevention method. You can find out where to get a prescription near you, here.

HIV can also be transmitted through sharing injecting equipment. Though PrEP is very effective at preventing HIV transmission through sex, we don’t have enough reliable data around its effectiveness with needle transmissions. If you are injecting, remember to use sterile equipment and never re-use or share – check out the Needle Exchange for safe ways to access sterile gear and dispose of used needles. Thorne Harbour also have some useful resources about safer injecting - so you can avoid injury as well as transmission.

U=U

If you are living with HIV, the best thing you can do for your own health and to protect your sexual partners is to take your HIV medicine as prescribed. If you have a sustained undetectable viral load  (the vast majority of people living with HIV who have access to medicine will have a sustained undetectable viral load), then HIV cannot be transmitted sexually. This is especially important in chemsex environments where condomless sex is very common and often involves multiple partners. Keep in mind that you could still be at risk of other STIs and there is still a risk of HIV transmission if needles are being shared. 

If you're HIV-negative, you still need to know about the wonderful news that Undetectable = Untransmittable. Research shows that there are a decent amount of guys living with HIV who have chemsex, so it's likely you'll encounter people in the scene talking about Undetectable = Untransmittable (U=U) as way of preventing HIV transmission. U=U means there is no risk of sexual transmission if a guy living with HIV has an viral load that can't be detected by standard HIV tests.

Condoms 

A lot of chemsex sessions are condomless, but remember it’s your right to have condoms in the picture if you want them. Consent always involves a conversation, so if you want to use a condom, you’ll probably need to start a conversation. If your sexual partners are not into using condoms, that’s their choice and either of you can exercise your freedom to respectfully decline the encounter if you can’t agree on a prevention method that works for you both.

Remember, condoms also lower the risk of contracting other STIs.

Sections

Testing, testing, is this on? Be PrEPared U=U Condoms Back to the top
Nuts-and-bolts-Chemsex-Ending-HIV-Sex-Article

The nuts and bolts of sexualised drug use (chemsex)

General harm reduction tips

  • Try and eat, even if you don't feel like it at the time, and prepare some meals/make sure there is food in your fridge for when you come down
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Set limits for yourself, and stick to them
  • Don’t let other people pressure you into doing drugs
  • Try to avoid mixing drugs with other drugs, and be informed about the risks if you do
  • Try to be aware of exactly what you are taking and how much you are taking
  • Tell a trusted friend what you're planning to use - just in case you need medical attention

PnP for PLHIV

First up, for guys who are living with HIV, some HIV medication can exacerbate the effects of chemsex drugs, making them overwhelming and potentially dangerous. 

Some HIV drugs, such as ritonavir (Norvir) and possibly other protease inhibitors, may cause dangerous, even fatal interactions with ecstasy (MDMA/molly), and other types of methamphetamines. HIV drugs may also slow down the elimination of recreational drugs from your system which may lead to elevated amounts of the drug active in your body. There have been reports of fatal overdose resulting from combining GHB and some antiretrovirals, in particular protease inhibitors. This significantly increases the chance of negative side effects with potentially fatal results.

You can check for interactions between recreational drugs and your antiretroviral medication at the University of Liverpool webpage.

The key is to take steps to keep yourself safe and healthy: 

  • Check in regularly with your GP, an experienced HIV medical practitioner, or your HIV specialist
  • Know your limits, know your body
  • Be aware of the impact that other substances may have on your treatment
  • It’s really important to continue taking your HIV medicine while you are partying, so have a plan that will help you to remember to take them. A lot of people set alarms to remind them when it's time to take their meds, as it can be easy to lose track of time.

Take a breather

Give your body time to recover and take regular breaks.

Methamphetamine, especially, can have a huge impact on your body and mind. Staying up for a day or two and not having a strong appetite will mean you need to catch up on the sleep and food you missed. It can also put a lot of pressure on your heart especially if you're also using Viagra.

Having a break is very important, allowing your body a chance to recover and your brain to restore its dopamine reserves, a hormone linked to making us feel good. Using more than 3 times a week is linked to dependence and long-term harm is likely. A good rule of thumb is: if you use once a week, give yourself another week to recover, if you use once a month, give yourself a month.

Sections

General harm reduction tips PnP for PLHIV Take a breather Back to the top

Harm reduction for common chems

Methamphetamine 

Methamphetamine is a stimulant that has effects of intense alertness, energy and, in this setting, increased sex-drive and euphoria. It's also known as Crystal Meth, P, Tina and Meth. The main effects last up to 8 hours with after-effects up to three days later. Using larger doses over longer periods can result in agitation, mood swings, paranoia, hallucinations or seizures.

Effects:

  • Increased confidence and motivation
  • Feelings of euphoria
  • Reduced inhibitions
  • Dilated pupils
  • A dry or pasty mouth
  • Increase in heart rate
  • A reduced appetite
  • Excess sweating
  • Increase in libido.

Like with many chems, using meth (particularly if using regularly) may result in unwanted or detrimental effects:

  • Agitation and mood swings
  • Paranoia and hallucinations (you may have heard of this as meth psychosis)
  • A reduced appetite
  • Seizures
  • Extreme weight loss
  • Restless sleep patterns and or insomnia
  • Ongoing dental problems
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Respiratory issues
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Snorting meth can damage the nasal passage and cause nose bleeds.

Methods of taking: 

  • Smoked
  • Injected (slammed)
  • Shafted (inserted rectally)
  • Snorted

Methamphetamine is more commonly smoked, which is the safer way to use it when it comes to risk of HIV transmission. Some people shaft meth, which means inserting it into the anus. Shafting meth can increase the risk of acquiring HIV because it can damage the lining of the anus, creating a potential entry point for HIV. If injecting (also known as slamming), always use sterile equipment (spoon, needle and syringe) and never reuse or share. Remember, you can get free sterile needles and syringes from Needle Exchanges and some pharmacies, as well as return used equipment to be safely disposed of.

  • Active dose: 5 – 10mg (half – one point)
  • Common dose: 10 – 30mg (one point – three points)
  • Risk of overdose: More than 30mg (more than three points)

Mixing:

Amphetamines + Antidepressants or Alcohol/Cannabis/Benzos - Because amphetamine speeds up the body, when it’s combined with depressants it may increase your risk of heart attack or stroke. Use of uppers and downers at the same time places the body under a high degree of stress. As your body attempts to deal with the conflicting chemical messages produced by different drugs, you significantly increase the negative side effects and this could result in overdose.

G (GHB/GBL)

GHB/GBL are depressants that slow down the body’s functions with effects of euphoria, disinhibition and relaxation lasting up to 2.5 hours with after effects of up to 4 hours. They have a lot of different street names, so you may encounter the street names G, Fantasy, Waz, G-riffic, goop and liquid G. The major risk for G is that the active dose is very small, 0.3ml, and it’s easy to accidentally use too much. It is also common to lose track of time and not be aware of when you last used.

Effects:

  • Feelings of euphoria
  • Increased libido
  • Lowered inhibitions
  • Relaxed muscles - especially in the anus
  • Memory lapses
  • Clumsiness and or loss of motor control
  • Dizziness or headache
  • Lowered body temperature and heart rate
  • Nausea, diarrhoea or difficulties urinating.

The effects of GHB/GBL are felt within 15 to 20 minutes and may last up to 3 or 4 hours depending on the strength of the substance and quantity consumed.

Little is known about the long-term effects that G has on the body. This is because the chemical composition of GHB/GBL varies, largely due to the method in which it is manufactured. What we do know though is this - it’s very easy to take too much G. The difference between the amount needed for a high to that of a fatal dose can be difficult to judge.

The effect of G depends on a couple of factors. For starters, you need to be sure whether you have GHB or GBL on your hands, as GBL (which is converted to GHB in your body) actually has a faster onset and is often more potent. Next, think about your body weight: if you are lighter, use less. Matching a playmate or friend’s dose is not the way to go, as bodyweight and tolerance could mean they are taking way more than you should. People often feel effects at very low doses, so remember to start with less. 

Methods of taking: 

  • Measured and drunk (usually diluted)
  • Not injected 
  • Not sniffed or snorted
  • Not shafted/booty bumped 

Use a syringe (without a needle) to measure the dose rather than guessing or swigging from a bottle. Don't let others dose you, stay in control of your own doses. Diluting in a small amount of water or soft-drink can help avoid chemical burns from G.

  • Active dose: 0.3 – 0.9ml
  • Common dose: 0.6 – 1.5 ml
  • Risk of overdose: 1.5ml or more

At 2ml or more of GHB unconsciousness is likely and death is likely at 5ml or more. If people are unresponsive, they need immediate medical attention, so dial 111 and request an ambulance. Remember that GBL can be more potent, so start with a smaller dose if you know you're using GBL.

Keeping track of how much you have used and when is very important. You can set a timer on your own phone to wait at least 3 hours before using again. Remember - it's VERY easy to overdose on G. It's not uncommon to assign a "G mama" pr "tripsitter" to help people keep track of doses and timing. You may even be organised enough to create a little spreadsheet or timetable that could be stuck to the fridge (or anywhere obvious) to track who's had what doses and when.

Another handy tip, G is a clear liquid that could easily be mistaken for something else - consider storing in a container that isn't a drinking receptacle to avoid someone else (or yourself) picking it up and taking a massive dose by mistake. You could also use a food colouring to avoid this.

Mixing:

The effect of G in combination with other drugs, including over-the-counter or prescribed medication, is unpredictable. Here are some of the known interactions between GHB/GBL and other drugs including prescription medications:

  • GHB/GBL + Alcohol - Do not take GHB with alcohol. Just don't do it.  
  • GHB/GBL + Benzodiazepines greatly increases the chance of overdose. If you have been drinking alcohol and use GHB the risk of overdose is very high. Both these drugs are depressants and the effects compound which can lead to unconsciousness, coma or death.
  • GHB/GBL + Amphetamines or Ecstasy places strain on the body and increases the risk of seizure. Using GHB/GBL to help with the come down of stimulants may lead to a cycle of dependence on both drugs.

Harm reduction info for alcohol

Alcohol, AKA Booze, liquor, drink, is a depressant whose active ingredient is ethanol. The oldest and most prevalent drug out there, really. 

Often underestimated in its dangers, alcohol can be really problematic for some people and it does some pretty nasty damage to the body over time. For others, it's a manageable way to loosen up and have some fun.

Know what you’re in for:

  • A feeling of relaxation
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Reduced reflexes
  • Increased confidence
  • Heightened mood: feeling happier or more depressed than usual
  • Lowered inhibitions

The origin of the hangover, most will be aware that the comedown from alcohol can be an unpleasant and painful experience. Rehydration is the key here and if you can keep food down, that's a bonus. Grab a sports drink and prepare for a day of Netflix under a duvet, depending on the severity.

Abuse of alcohol over time could result in:

  • Erectile dysfunction and infertility
  • Memory loss and/or brain damage
  • Difficulties with pregnancy and becoming pregnant
  • Depression
  • Chronic liver disease
  • Drug Dependency
  • Reduced kidney and liver function
  • An increased risk of heart disease

Methods of taking: 

  • Ingested/Drunk

Mixing:

Alcohol has reported negative interactions with most other drugs.

  • Alcohol + other drugs classified as depressants (GHB, Ketamine and certain prescription medications) are a dangerous combination. Together, they may increase the risk of overdose by reducing heart rate and breathing to dangerously low levels.
  • Alcohol + Cannabis may cause nausea and vomiting. Feelings of anxiety and paranoia may also occur when the drugs are taken in combination.
  • Alcohol + Cocaine will strengthen the stimulant effect of cocaine and places the heart under extreme stress. This condition has been linked to sudden death.
  • Alcohol + Ecstasy generally lessens the overall effect of ecstasy. It can however dangerously increase these effects, speeding up the process of dehydration.

Cocaine

Cocaine is a stimulant derived from the leaves of the coca bush, widely known by many street names, including coke, snow, blow, nose candy, crack, freebase.

Sought out for its quick onset of a euphoric state, reduced inhibitions and increased energy and motivation, cocaine has quite a short sharp high and is highly addictive. It's easy to build a tolerance to cocaine, meaning continued use can require larger doses to achieve the same results. 

Harder to get a hold of here in New Zealand, cocaine is notably expensive - meaning cheap/affordable "coke" is likely methamphetamine. 

Effects:

  • Increased confidence and motivation
  • Feelings of euphoria
  • Reduced inhibitions
  • Dilated pupils
  • A dry or pasty mouth
  • Increase in heart rate
  • A reduced appetite
  • Excess sweating
  • Increase in libido
  • Snorting cocaine may result in nose bleeds, infections of the nasal passage, perforated septum and long-term damage to the nasal cavity and sinus

The comedown's no cakewalk! Try and look after yourself when coming down, do something relaxing with people you trust, as you're likely to experience the below:

  • Restlessness/Irritability
  • Paranoia
  • Radical mood swings
  • Lethargy/Exhaustion
  • Anger

Methods of taking: 

  • Snorted/Sniffed
  • Injected
  • Ingested/Rubbed into gums
  • Smoked (Crack and Freebase)

Most commonly snorted, cocaine is the original line on the mirror.

  • Active dose: 20-50mg
  • Common dose: 50-100mg
  • Risk of overdose: It is hard to pinpoint the cocaine dose that will cause an overdose - tolerance, weight and purity of the drug all confuse this number. One thing to remember is that cocaine use often promotes compulsive redosing - making it harder to track how much is in your system as the night goes on

Prolonged use can badly damage the tissues in your nose, even eating away at your septum - use alternate nostrils where possible. Make sure you're not sharing snorting equipment as cuts and irritations could result in blood passing from one nose to another. It's a good idea to rinse your nostrils out after a hit kicks in to avoid the drug damaging tissue.

If you are injecting, it’s important to use clean injecting equipment and to avoid sharing needles or other injecting equipment.

Mixing:

Cocaine + Alcohol will strengthen the stimulant effect of cocaine and places the heart under extreme stress. This condition has been linked to sudden death.

Cocaine + other stimulants (ecstasy, amphetamines) will put the heart under pressure and will increase the risk of overdose.

MDMA/ecstasy

MDMA (ecstasy, molly, pingers, biscuits) is often found in pill, capsule or powdered form - and is usually taken to induce a euphoric state and heighten sensory awareness. 

Effects:

The desired effects of MDMA are felt somewhere between 20 minutes to an hour after the drug has been taken and can last upwards of 6 hours in the body.

  • Increased confidence and feelings of euphoria
  • Dilated pupils
  • Reduced inhibitions
  • Clenching/grinding of the jaw and teeth
  • Heightened sensory awareness
  • Excessive sweating
  • Nausea and reduction in appetite
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased risk of dehydration
  • Restless sleep patterns and or insomnia
  • Heat stroke
  • Long-term use may eventually cause depression, memory loss or cognitive impairment, dependency, anxiety or reduced kidney and liver function

Come downs from MDMA can be quite intense and sometimes emotional. Monitor your feelings - having a cry is totally fine, but if you're feeling super low, call a trusted friend to come and give you some support. 

It's important to stay hydrated when you've taken MDMA, as it will help regulate your body temperature. MDMA also introduces a risk of overhydration - so make sure to enjoy your water slowly rather than chugging constantly. Having an electrolyte-heavy beverage like a sports drink can help with this too. Also, remember to pee!

Methods of taking: 

  • Ingested/swallowed
  • Snorted
  • Rarely injected

Most commonly encountered in pill form.

  • Active dose: 40-75mg
  • Common dose: 75-125mg
  • Risk of overdose: It is hard to pinpoint the MDMA dose that will cause an overdose - tolerance, weight and other compounds present in the pill all confuse this number

Mixing:

  • Ecstasy + Alcohol may increase your risk of dehydration or consequently it may result in the drinking of too much water.
  • Ecstasy + Amphetamine may increase the potential for anxiety and reduced brain functioning. This is due to the depletion of dopamine in the brain. Enormous strain is also placed on the heart and body and this has the potential to lead to stroke.
  • Ecstasy + SSRIs (anti-depressants/anti-anxieties) can be risky as with mixing any drugs, as it is hard to predict how one drug will interact with another. Avoid using MDMA if you are on anti-depressants (MAOIs or SSRIs) as they act on the same areas in the brain making the effects unpredictable and dangerous.

Ketamine

Quite literally a horse tranquiliser, ketamine is an anaesthetic that has hallucinogenic properties and produces increased feelings of happiness. Known on the street as K, Special K, Ket, Vitamin K, Kit Kat and K-Hole.

Ketamine is often found in a crystalline powder form, and sometimes found as a pill or liquid. 

It's known to be hugely dissociative, which means people using ketamine may find themselves completely disconnected from their surroundings and bodies as strong hallucinations affect sense of sight, smell, taste and feeling. In fact, it's pretty common to fall into this state, aptly named a "K-hole". For this reason, having a sober friend or experienced user that you trust with you to tripsit in case the state becomes overwhelming, or your dissociation becomes dangerous (i.e. not seeing a staircase, pool or road, etc.).

Effects:

  • Increased feeling of happiness
  • A sense of detachment from your body – falling into the "K-hole"
  • Hallucinations
  • Confusion, clumsiness and lowered pain sensitivity
  • Increased heart rate and/or blood pressure
  • Slurred or slow speech
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Ketamine bladder syndrome - Taken in large, repeated doses, ketamine may cause a painful ongoing condition known as ketamine bladder syndrome. Symptoms include incontinence and ultimately ulceration to the bladder.

Coming down from a ketamine session can be pretty disorienting. You may experience memory loss, clumsiness and have your judgement/reasoning impaired. 

Methods of taking: 

  • Snorted
  • Injected (into muscle rather than a vein)
  • Shafted/Booty-bumped

Most commonly injected.

  • Active dose: 5-10mg
  • Common dose: 50-125mg
  • Risk of overdose: Ketamine is not easy to overdose on as with some other chems, but the dissociative and numbing effects mean harm to the user can be from being injured by interactions with their environment in this state - e.g. drowning.

Mixing:

  • Ketamine + Alcohol or Opiates may lead to a reduced awareness of the amount of combined depressants being taken. This could result in overdose. Signs of overdose may include nausea and vomiting, slowed heart rate and breathing, coma and possibly even result in death.
  • Ketamine + Amphetamines, Ecstasy and Cocaine place an enormous strain on the body, leading to an increased heart rate and the possibility of heart failure and/or stroke.

Viagra

Is Viagra in the mix?

Viagra is a prescription medication used in the treatment of erectile dysfunction. It acts by increasing blood flow to the genitals and voilà, you've got a somewhat instant boner (you'll still need to be aroused, of course).

Viagra is simply a brand name. The active ingredient in Viagra is sildenafil citrate. Other medications such as Cialis have similarly acting active constituent, produce the same result and will affect the long and short-term health of users similarly.

Viagra is found in tablet form. All sildenafil citrate products are manufactured either as a pill or an oral jelly.

Effects:

  • Relaxed blood vessels in the penis resulting in long-lasting erections
  • We’re talking 2-5 hours where you may have more than one prolonged boner
  • Overdoing Viagra or any similar product can result in priapism (which is doctor-speak for a painful erection that won’t go away)
  • Impotence and permanent penile damage can occur if you maintain an erection for more than four hours

Methods of taking: 

  • Ingested (pill or jelly)

Poppers

Once you pop…

Poppers are the most common name for a type of inhalant – usually Amyl or Butyl Nitrite – that are used for their dilatory, muscle-relaxing effects and short-term euphoria. Renowned for their effects on anal sex, poppers may be quite a common encounter in the scene.

Most safely used by inhaling the vapour (and the vapour only!). This can be done by placing the bottle near the nose and inhaling for a maximum of five seconds. If you want an extra huffer-buffer you can drop some on a tissue or cotton and inhale from this to further reduce the chance of accidentally having the liquid enter your nose.

Effects:

  • Pretty much instant effects
  • Sense of warmth and euphoria lasting 2-3 minutes
  • Relaxed muscles – especially the anus (yass)
  • Lowered blood-pressure – which can cause light-headaches and increased heart-rate
  • Swallowing poppers is extremely dangerous and potentially fatal - they should only ever be inhaled as they can potentially cause users to fall unconscious or slip into a coma
  • If you, or someone around you, swallows poppers - you should immediately call 111 as urgent medical care is required
  • If you’ve got heart problems – it’s best not to play with poppers

Methods of taking: 

  • Huffed/Inhaled
  • Never drunk
  • Never injected

Mixing:

Avoid using poppers with drugs like Viagra or blood pressure medication as this can be dangerous. It lowers the blood pressure, which can cause fainting, or even fatal drops in blood pressure. When mixed with stimulants such as speed, meth or cocaine, Viagra increases the stress levels on your heart and puts the body under a lot of pressure. GHB also lowers blood pressure, so mixing with poppers can be dangerous as it increases the chance of losing consciousness or respiratory issues.

More resources and support

Touchbase: Touchbase is a hub of information, support and services for the LGTBI community

How Hard: How Hard is a resource for sexually adventurous gay and bisexual guys which has helpful sections on harm reduction for chems, adventurous play-styles and HIV prevention information

Turning Tina: An in-depth, harm reduction resource about methamphetamine made for and by people living with HIV - created by The Institute of Many (TIM) 

Rewired: An upcoming harm reduction programme for gay and bi guys who are wanting to change their relationship with methamphetamine

The Drug Foundation: NZ's local home of harm reduction, policy advocacy and education around drug-use

Sections

Methamphetamine G (GHB/GBL) Harm reduction info for alcohol Cocaine MDMA/ecstasy Ketamine Viagra Poppers More resources and support Back to the top
If-things-get-hairy--Chemsex-Ending-HIV-Sex-Article

If things get hairy(er)

 

Overdose

Call 111 for an ambulance is someone is overdosing

If someone is overdosing, the sooner they receive medical attention the better.

Depressants (GHB, alcohol)

If someone is experiencing any of these symptoms: confused and vomiting, breathing slowly, pale skin, blue lips, losing consciousness, having seizures then:

  • Call 111 for an ambulance
  • Stay with them
  • Keep them awake and warm
  • Give them water
  • Lay them on their side with open airways

Stimulants (methamphetamine, cocaine, MDMA)

If someone is experiencing any of these symptoms: a fast and irregular heartbeat, excessive sweating, chest or arm pain, difficulty breathing, extreme agitation and paranoia or seizures then:

  • Call 111 for an ambulance
  • Stay with them
  • Find a safe place to calm down and reassure them
  • Lay them on their side with airways open

 

Problematic use - time to stop or slow down?

Reach out if you have experienced harm or want to slow down or stop

Chemsex is an intense experience and for some can be really harmful. The combination of substances used makes people really out of it and there are reports of people experiencing sexual violence when they were unable to consent. If this has happened, you can contact the police and NZAF’s counselling services are available for help and support.

GHB and methamphetamine are both drugs that have risk of dependence. If you are using more than you want to, comedowns are affecting other parts of your life and the unpleasant effects outweigh the pleasant ones, consider making some changes or visiting DrugHelp for some tips on how to cut down.

If you:

  • Are using outside of chemsex sessions
  • Are using more to get the same effect
  • Have had people express concern
  • Are spending more time and money on drugs than you want to
  • Are using to avoid a comedown
  • Are experiencing poor mental health

Please reach out to get some support.

  • Call the alcohol and drug helpline on 0800 787 797 or txt 8681.
  • Contact NZAF for a free counselling session

Sections

Overdose Problematic use - time to stop or slow down? Back to the top

Acknowledgements and Disclaimers

 

Thank you to Thorne Harbour Health for sharing their resource content with us and to the NZ Drug Foundation for their assistance in putting together this resource. 

Please note: The information given on this page is not medical advice and should not be relied upon in that way. Dosages in this resource are listed only to give an idea of how and in what quantities certain chems may be encountered in the scene and have been gathered from various harm reduction resources.

The NZAF network

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