(This information has been provided by The London Ambulance Service (LAS), and it operates for London).
When we talk about chemsex we can’t forget that overdoses and accidents are episodes that are constantly happening, and many times it’s necessary to call 999. Unfortunately we can see that there is a huge lack of information and lots of myths around this matter, and CONTROLLING CHEMSEX has been consulting with Paramedics in London who are attending these kinds of incidents to clarify questions that people are asking.
Calling an ambulance can save lives, and the best advice we can give if to call them if someone is at risk. The 999 system goes to a generic operator, who may well flag it to Police for any number of reasons, the London Ambulance Service (LAS) may not have a unit available within adequate time as each call is graded with a different level of urgency, suspected assault or overdose, cardiac arrest/sudden deaths, the list goes on ... LAS don’t have a specific protocol on Chemsex, it’s mostly policies on how to treat drugs or type of patients, not specifically grouped into categories.
If you call an ambulance they will need as much information as possible regarding the drugs that the person who needs assistance has taken, and when was the last time they had some and what and roughly how much it was. The Paramedic’s job will be much more effective if they know about these questions.
Paramedics do not call the Police unless for their own safety. It can happen that if someone calls 999, sometimes the Police will attend before Paramedics if there’s not an ambulance free, normally this is only in cardiac arrest situations though. It’s not the normal procedure.
IF SOMETHING HAPPENS INSIDE A BAR / CLUB:
Normally there is a medic at the club who will call an ambulance, never the Police. If needed the patient will be taken to hospital after taking drugs. Or Paramedics will let them be taken home by responsible and sober friends. If they have taken something which makes them violent to staff, the Police will be called for the ambulance crews safety and nothing more. They do not get into trouble for taking drugs or being high, Paramedics are there to make sure everyone is safe.
Paramedics do not call the Police unless for their own safety. If you call 999 asking for an ambulance, the Police may attend if:
- there’s suspicion that a crime has been committed
- entry (to the premises) may need to be forced to let the ambulance crew in
- the patient may be a danger to themselves
- the patient may be a danger to the ambulance crew
If you call an ambulance, remember that not everybody has to go to hospital: as long as the person who had the episode has capacity and well enough to stay safe at home, they can be left with a friend.
In cases when the Police find someone in the street who is wondering around and who is clearly on drugs, they call A&E if they are concerned for their safety and Paramedics will take them to hospital.