Being a student, to some extent, is about making your own life, choosing what to do and taking on new experiences. But where there is pleasure, there is risk. Make informed decisions and follow the 3 golden rules:
Try not to do anything with your body or mind that you don’t want to do.
Don’t allow anyone else to force you to do what you don’t want to do.
Don’t exploit others by getting them to do stuff that will later make them feel bad about themselves (and you).
Risks: unwanted pregnancy/sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Reducing Risk: no form of contraception is 100% “safe” but condoms, properly used, offer the best protection. ENSA is part of the C-Card Scheme that issues free condoms. All you need for a c-card is to tell us is your date of birth and the first part of your post code (e.g. EH11).
If you need advice about pregnancy, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or if you believe you may have contracted an STI or just want checked out, visit www.lothiansexualhealth.scot.nhs.uk. It’s all confidential.
Risks: everything from a bad trip and dependency, to transmission of HIV/hepatitis from sharing needles, to death from an impure supply, having a conviction on your criminal record (bad move for prospective careers).
Reducing Risk: Most drugs have unwanted side effects of some kind. Check out www.crew2000.co.uk – it’s full of useful information. For those intent on using drugs, don’t use needles, or at least do not share them. Don’t share snorting apparatus. Don’t do drugs on your own or with people you don’t know. For clubbers who do ecstasy or club drugs, keep hydrated (a pint of water sipped gradually over 1 hour – not alcohol); keep cool – get some fresh air if you get hot on the dancefloor; eat an hour or so before doing drugs and have food when you come home.
Risks: impaired judgement and removal of social inhibitions resulting in everything from behaviour such as falling over or throwing up, through to more serious risks such as injury through accident or assault, street violence, domestic violence, unwanted sexual encounters and pregnancy.
Reducing Risk: at least 2 days in every week should be alcohol free (to stop the long term build up of toxins in your liver). The recommended weekly max intake for men is 21 units and for women it’s 14 (a pint of lager is usually at least 2 units). Don’t get drunk on cheap booze at home before you go out.
Risks: lung disease, cancers, reduced fitness, damaged complexion, stinky clothes and hair, cost to your budget (the price of a packet of 20 is nearly £8). There’s also the risk to the health of those around you who may inhale your secondary smoke – partners, flat-mates, kids.
Reducing Risk: around 25% of adults in Scotland smoke. The government’s smoking ban in public places has been in place since 2006, so if you want to smoke, you have to shiver outside in the Scottish winter. The warnings on the packets are scary but real. If you want to quit, call Smokeline on 0800 84 84 84 for tips.