Proceed with caution

Emergency personnel carrying a stretcher in front of an ambulance.

Adrienne (BA Psychology) is a Child and Youth Worker (CYW) student at Fanshawe College, currently on placement with mindyourmind. She has a passion for psychology and mental wellness, and loves working with children and youth. In her spare time, Adrienne enjoys nature, discovering new music and visiting with her niece "Ella" (while secretly analyzing her developmental milestones).

Bright lights, roaring crowds, and a wave of bodies jumping up and down to the music of their favourite DJ.  There’s nothing quite like standing in the crowd, watching your favourite artist perform. The joy of hearing the songs you listen to walking home, or alone in your room blasting from giant speakers. Standing in the same room as the person that created them can be so invigorating!

Despite the fact that I absolutely love going to concerts, some reports in the news regarding one particular artists recent shows have been very concerning to me.  Multiple news agencies have been releasing gruesome reports of young people across the globe becoming hospitalized for illicit drug and alcohol use at Avicii concerts. The most recent being over 30 people hospitalized in Boston, and over 50 treated at the scene. Twitter has been raging wild with pictures of the 15 ambulances lined up outside of TD Gardens.

What it is about this specific artist that results in such concerning behaviour lays beyond my range of comprehension. I’d be lying through my teeth if I said this didn’t concern me. While I understand how the flashing lights and high tempo music can create a safe and happy haven, I can’t bring myself to feel okay with the fact that young people are being HOSPITALIZED and this specific setting seems to be a commonality. Personally, I can’t exactly tell all of you not to take drugs. Well, I could but I definitely feel that my influence wouldn’t overcome that of your own free will. Everyone makes their own choices at the end of the day. I can’t follow you around and smack the pills/joint/bong out of your hands. However, I will ask you this and hope that you will listen: Please take care of yourself.  The effects of drugs can be detrimental and if you chose to dabble in the mind altering experiences of drugs it is very important to be aware of the risks. Here are some ways you can protect yourself.

Educate yourself: Before you take a drug, take a moment to read up about it. No, I don’t mean peruse the forums where people debate whether or not mushrooms put holes in your brain. I mean a legitimate site that can tell you what the physical effects and risks are of the drug. You need to know what to be prepared for so you can take care of yourself while using the drug.

Know your family history: Some drugs can trigger mental illness. For example, it has been stated that THC (cannabis) can trigger psychosis in individuals who are genetically predisposed to it. When deciding whether or not to use a drug, it can be very helpful to know your family history and whether or not this is a risk for you.

Have a friend with you: If something goes wrong and you are alone, it can be hard to get the care you need. It is important to have a reliable friend with you (or even a few) to ensure that you are able to get medical attention if you need it. It could also be beneficial to have a sober companion (sort of like a DD).

Know your body: Pay attention to what your body is telling you. If you feel like something is wrong, seek medical help. It’s also important to be aware of how much and how often you are using the drug. Doing too much of a drug, or even doing it too often can have negative effects. On top of this, anyone can become addicted to a drug. Even if you think it won’t happen to you, it is important to watch for the signs and symptoms of addiction in your own life and your friends.

Its O.K. to say no: It is never “uncool” of you to say no. It’s your body and you choose what to put in to it. Don’t ever let anyone peer pressure you into doing anything you don’t want to because it could result in serious health problems. Take charge, and stand up for yourself if someone is trying to pressure you. Peer pressure is not ok.

Mixing changes everything: When you mix different drugs together, or even drugs and alcohol, the effects can completely change. Be aware of this, and recognize that mixing substances can result in higher health risks.

If you are considering using drugs, the Getting High interactive can be a great way to help you plan to be safe. Whether you feel it or not, you are ALL important. You ALL matter. Please take care of yourself!