Date: Fri, 1 Aug 1997 10:26:27 -0700 (PDT)
To: Multiple recipients of list <>
Subject: Regarding heroin ODs

A postcard from the edge on 'How not to drop'
(Or, what you need to know if you don't 'just say no')


First things first.

Most dead heroin users do not have a lethal level of opiates in their
system. Many deaths are due to a fatal mix of opiates, tranquillisers
and/or alcohol. So, one drug at a time please.

Next, don't use alone.  Just in case you drop, make sure there is
someone there to help you, like at least, call an ambulance. Mind you,
the majority of people who drop dead do so in the company of their
mates. So, even better, only use with people who have a St John
Ambulance first aid certificate, or, know resuscitation from wasted
years as a surfie life saver. (But we appreciate most of your mates
won't be so useful). In a reflective moment ask your fellow users what
they might do if things go wrong! Answers like: run away, put you in a
cold bath, 'call a cab?' should tell you to change your friends. Or
better, educate them how to save your life. There are three simple
things to do.

1 If you get concerned phone an ambulance. Tell them there is an
unconscious body. (You don't need to say what they have used, but an
address is useful). You do not have to tell them your name and the
police shouldn't turn up! An ambulance will take at least 10 mins to get
there.  While you wait, keep your mate alive. The ambulance people on
the phone will tell you what to do. Listening is more really much more
effective than screaming. Keep the person breathing. Snoring is not 
necessarily breathing! Keep their air passages open. Once the paramedics
turn up tell them everything you know about the hit. If you are really
paranoid wait until you hear the ambulance, pin a note on his/her tee
shirt about what has been used, then flee.

2 Narcan. Get some: from your doctor, your dealer, your mates. After all
if you can get smack presumably you know some resourceful people. Narcan
is an S4 drug. It is legally available by prescription. Get your mum to
badger a sensible GP to give her some to keep at home, give to you, give
to your friends. Keep it cool (below 30c). Narcan loses its antidote
effects if left in the car to bake. And has a life-saving shelf life of
about 3 years. Narcan makes you straight immediately. Don't curse the
loss of your $$$. Narcan wears off. In 30 to 45 mins things will be rosy

3 Keep people breathing. And, breathing regularly. Unlike a drug habit,
brain damage from lack of oxygen lasts a life time. Find out about
resuscitation techniques. Talk to a friendly nurse, doctor, paramedic,
your mum, or the WA OOPS! project at what's left of The ADA (08 9370
0376). And see their video. Visit the WA 'Drop Shop' which will exist if
ever the government  funds the User group. Even have a practice or two
at 'resussing'. If all else fails get a fridge magnet from the toss
farce (08 9264 8244) and put it on the fridge before you hock it (the
fridge that is). If all else fails, hold their nose and breathe into
their mouths, about 10 to 12 times a minute. If the thought doesn't
appeal (even the most attractive of blueing corpses may vomit) get a
're-suss' face mask. They come with instructions.

Very few people die immediately they shoot up. Some take up to 3 hours
to cark it. Usually, there is lots of time to do something useful. In
the early throes of an overdose, walking people around the house, making
them do star jumps, hitting them, shouting at them, sticking them in a
cold shower, keeping them awake and alert is good practice. Once they
stop responding THIS IS SERIOUS SHIT. IT IS HAPPENING. More urgent
methods are needed. This does not include panicking, stuffing them in
phone boxes, injecting them with salt water, or running away. Do actions
1, 2, 3 outlined above. Which basically is keep them breathing until
help comes.

After all, dropping dead is a real waste of a good hit.

Take care,

Love Bill and Ali
Bill Saunders
Associate Professor
Clinical and Health Psychology
Curtin University
PO Box U 1987
WA 6001

08 9266 2206 (direct)
08 9266 2464 (fax)
08 9266 2219 (secretary)