Panda is a week away and Carleton’s campus is already full of excitement for the new school year and the big game! The Panda football game is a highlight of the year for many Carleton students and attracts thousands of spectators every year. With the COVID-19 pandemic’s limits on large gatherings, this will be the first year that many can attend Panda’s festivities in full force.
Although the football game is certainly a fun place to show school spirit and spend time with friends, new and old, football is hardly the only event of the day. When participating in the many fun events associated with Panda, there are strategies that you can use to ensure that the fun stays safe, for everyone involved!
Here are a few tips to keep in mind, share with a friend, and maybe even offer to a new pal to keep Panda as fun and safe as possible.
Sticking with at least one person you know throughout the day can help everyone stay protected from physical, emotional, and verbal violence, harassment, bullying and more.
If possible, stay in a group with at least one person who is not using substances. Sticking together makes it easier to be vigilant, de-escalate challenging situations, and contact security or a staff member if needed.
Be Conscious of Consent
Consent is an active process where someone enthusiastically and freely agrees to engage in sexual activity. You are the only one that can give consent for yourself, and consent can be withdrawn at any time. If you do decide to engage in sexual activity, make sure to know how to protect yourself and your partner(s) – you can always reach out for support if you need it!
Remember that consent is not just for sexual activity and is also important when it comes to substance use. It is okay to not use substances for any reason – it can be helpful to tell a friend that you do not want to use, find a buddy not to use with you and plan a way to remove yourself safely from a situation if it makes you uncomfortable.
Prepare a Plan(s)
Planning a safe ride home, and even coming up with a couple of different options, is central to staying safe the whole day. Do not drive, skateboard, bike, or walk alone if you are under the influence of substances. Instead, plan a trip on OC Transpo, get a ride from a friend who is not using substances, or use a ride service like Uber. If you do walk, use ride sharing, or take the bus, make sure that you are with someone who is not under the influence of substances and use safety features on apps like Uber or Lyft to keep you and your friends safe!
Be Diligent of your Dose
Every substance that you may choose to use has different guidelines and risks. Some general rules to keep in mind are:
- Pay attention to how long it takes to feel the effects of the substance you are using, and do not increase your dose until you are feeling the full effects of your previous dose.
- Never use alone! This is especially important when using substances that can be laced or cut with potentially harmful substances that you can’t see, taste, or smell.
- Carry naloxone (and learn how to use it)! Naloxone is a lifesaving substance that can reverse an opioid overdose and save someone’s life while waiting for emergency services to arrive. You can get naloxone for free at most pharmacies in Ontario and can register for a free Naloxone training course and get a free kit at Carleton.
- Take small doses to gauge the strength of a substance that is not regulated.
- Know your dose! For alcohol usage guidelines, check out Keep It Social or learn about blood alcohol content.
Single Substance Strategy
Using multiple different substances, including prescription drugs, can increase impairment and produce unique harms. If you do choose to mix, use one substance at a time and make sure to take breaks between substances. To learn more about safer use strategies, visit Carleton’s newly updated Wellness website.
Be Wary for your Buddies
It is crucial to monitor yourself and your friends for signs of an overdose. Overdoses can happen to anyone. Never leave someone alone if you suspect that they are experiencing an overdose and make sure to call security and/or 911 if symptoms are severe. To learn more about how to recognize an overdose with specific substances, visit the Party Safer website.
Stay safe Ravens! Looking out for one another is part of what makes our community so wonderful, so make sure to be a respectful neighbour, a supportive friend and a kind stranger. You never know what difference you might be able to make for someone by going into Panda prepared to party safe!
To learn more about Panda game tickets and tips to stay safe, visit the current students website.
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