February 23, 2021

Be your own Rover: Harm reduction in the home

Mardi Gras looks a little different this year. With restrictions keeping big dance parties off the cards, we won’t be seeing Rovers around as much to take care of us. This year, you might need to be your own Rover, especially when partying at yours or a mates’ house. We’ve compiled some of the Rovers’ best harm reduction tips for safer partying when at home.

  1. Stay hydrated: make sure you keep hydrated and drink plenty of water. Aim for 250-500mL of water per hour, depending on how much dancing you’re doing.
  2. Eat: give your body plenty of sustenance to kick on all night.
  3. Take regular breaks: take some time out to chill out and get some fresh air. If you’ve been sitting all night, every now and then make sure you get up and move around, especially if you’ve been drinking or using drugs.
  4. Communicate with your friends, and take care of each other: if you choose to use drugs, let your friends know what you will be taking so should something go wrong they can get help. Throughout the night, check in on each other and make sure everyone is travelling well.
  5. Don’t be afraid to call for help when it’s needed: If someone is experiencing the signs and symptoms of overdose, call 000 immediately and ask for an ambulance. Police are only called to an overdose if there is any danger to the ambulance officers, or if the person dies. Find out more about calling an ambulance, or read more advice from Rovers about avoiding overdose.
  6. Alternate with water and/or opt for a lighter option: If you’re drinking alcohol, slow yourself down and stay hydrated by having a glass of water in between alcoholic drinks. Opting for a mid-strength beer or another lighter alcohol option also helps to reduce the harms associated with binge drinking. Have plenty of non-alcoholic drinks available at the party.
  7. Don’t mix GHB and alcohol: Mixing GHB with other depressants like alcohol, benzos, opioids, ketamine, and even some antihistamines, can dramatically increase the effects of the drug, leading to a higher risk of overdose.
  8. Avoid poly-drug use: Using a number of substances in combination with each other (including alcohol) can increase their effects, increase their unpredictability, and cause unnecessary strain on your body.
  9. Start low, go slow: When using any drug, especially one you haven’t had before, or one from a new supplier, it’s always a good idea to start with a small amount, and wait until you feel the effects before redosing.
  10. Avoid a G-nap: When partying at home, it might be tempting to sneak into a bedroom for a nap. This is especially dangerous if you’ve been taking GHB, as you could lose consciousness and dangerously slow your breathing.
  11. Know the signs of an overdose, recognise when someone needs help: Know what to look for and when to get help. Read up on the signs of an MDMA overdose, a GHB overdose, and a crystal overdose. Information about other overdoses can be found at the Alcohol and Drug Foundation or Your Room.
  12. Have a designated sober friend at each party: Drugs and alcohol affect your ability to make rational decisions, so having a friend who isn’t affected by drugs or alcohol helps to keep everyone safe (your very own Rover!). This person can recognise the signs and symptoms of overdose, ensure that no one’s snuck off for a nap and isn’t safe, and can call for help if it’s needed.
  13. Plan your doses/drinks (and hide the rest!): When partying at home, you might have access to the whole bottle of vodka, the whole case of beer, or the whole supply from your dealer. Plan how much you want to drink or take in the evening, and hide the rest or put it somewhere hard to reach. Don’t make it easy to tempt yourself into taking more when your inhibitions are lower.
  14. Practise safe sex. 
  15. Plan your comedown: if you choose to use alcohol or other drugs, make sure you plan your comedown and give yourself time to recover. Remember that if you’re using more than usual your recovery may take longer. If you had a break over COVID and your tolerance has decreased, heavier use might impact your comedown more than it usually does.
  16. Use sterile equipment: if you inject drugs ensure you use your own sterile equipment. You can pick up supplies from ACON’s NSPs.
  17. Ensure your party is COVID-safe: Read up on partying safely during a pandemic on Pivot Point.


Party safely, look after yourself and your friends, and stay COVID-safe. Read more about avoiding an overdose and getting help.

The ACON Rovers are a volunteer-based community led initiative and we promote a culture of care at sexuality and gender diverse dance parties and events. If you’re interested in becoming a Rover or want to know more, visit our information for volunteers.