How to party (and get home in one piece)

Partying with friends is one of the best ways to create great memories, but having a good time doesn’t have to mean rolling the dice with your own safety.

The key to partying smart is thinking ahead and being aware. Having an idea of potential risks, and how you’d handle yourself in certain situations means you’re less likely to get into trouble, and more likely to have a good time.

The risk run-down

While you might roll your eyes at the idea of ‘safe partying’, the best celebrations are the ones you come home from in one piece. Parties that involve alcohol, drugs and late nights (as many do) increase the chances of risky behaviour. When you have an idea of what could go wrong (and the fall out that follows), you’re more likely to know how to avoid having anything bad happen.

  • people wanting to drive after they’ve been drinking

  • people becoming aggressive or violent when drunk or on drugs

  • drink spiking (this can mean putting extra alcohol in someone’s drink, or giving them drugs without them knowing)

  • unsafe or non-consensual sex

  • drug overdose or alcohol poisoning.

Being familiar with these risks, and their consequences is an important part of learning how to party safely.

How are you getting home?

There’s nothing worse at the end of a big night than not knowing how you’re going to get home. The clock is ticking, your energy is fading and all you want to do is crawl into bed. Failing to lock in an exit strategy can be the kind of thing that leads to risky decisions, like jumping in the car with someone who has been drinking, as you try desperately to just get home.

Rather than leaving it to the last minute, put some money aside for a taxi or Uber, or make sure that someone who won’t be drinking or taking drugs is the designated driver.

Pro party tip: Use the ride home to plan the perfect post-party snack, then raid the pantry the minute you walk in the door. Trust us, you won’t regret it in the morning.

Keep an eye on your mates

Agree with a friend at the start of the night that you’ll check in with each other during the party to see how you’re both travelling. If you look out for each other, neither of you will fall behind.

Pace yourself

If you’re planning to drink, check out our article on how to drink but not get drunk.

To make sure you always know what (and how much) you’re drinking, it’s a smart move to always fetch your own drinks and never leave them unattended if you hit the dance floor.

Pro party tip: Always take advantage of snacks - party pies are the best thing about parties! A full belly equals a good party.

Safe sex = smart sex

If there’s even a small chance you might have sex with someone, have the right protection with you (such as a condom or dental dam). Check out our guide for safe sex for more info.

It’s also worth remembering that drink and drugs can affect consent. Revisit our guide on consent to brush up on everything you need to know about sexual consent.

Be drug aware

Remember that there is no safe level of use of illegal drugs. You can never be sure of what’s in a drug and how strong it is, or of the effect it’s going to have on you.

The safest choice is to not take drugs. However, if you choose to use, there are things you can do to reduce the risk of harm:

  • Tell someone what you've taken, so they can get the right help for you if anything goes wrong.

  • If you've been given the drugs by someone else, always ask exactly what's in them. Avoid situations where you don't know what you're taking.

  • Avoid using drugs alone or in an isolated environment.

  • Avoid mixing depressant drugs (alcohol, benzodiazepines, opioids, heroin).

  • If you can't feel the effect, don't take more. The drug may take time to have an effect and you may end up taking too much.

  • Don't inject drugs, and never share injecting equipment.

  • Take a break from use. If you don’t feel that you can stop taking drugs, but are feeling overwhelmed by your usage, then try mini-breaks. A day without using, then a weekend, then a week.

  • Let someone know if you start to feel unwell (mentally or physically).

  • Look after your mates. If they look like they're getting into trouble, seek help. The police won't be involved if you've sought medical assistance.

  • If you get into difficulty yourself, let the ambulance or first aid responders know what you've taken.

What can I do now?