It’s that time of year where people are heading off to university for the first term. Freshers’ week is famous for being one of the biggest party times of the university term and is where many new friendships are forged.

It’s a lot of fun but it’s easy to get carried away so FRANK has put together a few simple tips to ensure Freshers’ week is a week to remember.

First impressions count

  • Remember to be yourself and you’ll find friends who respect you for who you are.
  • Work out where you stand on issues like sex, drugs and alcohol. Knowing your own mind makes it easier to stay true to yourself.
  • Don’t feel under pressure to take drugs if you don’t want to. Say ‘No’ firmly but clearly and without making a big deal about it. If people try to persuade you, don’t feel like you have to change your mind. True friends will accept who you are whatever your response.

Before you hit the town

  • Try to eat a decent meal before you go out – something high in carbohydrates, such as pasta or a jacket potato will keep you going for longer – and needn’t break the bank!
  • Make sure you know how you’re getting home – check out the university night buses on offer, or save the all important “emergency tenner” to pay for a taxi should you need it.  Drugs can impair how you drive so you should never drive if you have been drinking or taking drugs, nor accept a lift from anyone who you know to have been drinking or taken drugs.

During the night

  • Be wary of taking drinks from large open containers and punch bowls and ‘mine-sweeping’ (picking up and drinking) unattended drinks – you’ve no way of knowing how strong it is, or even what it is. 
  • Be careful about mixing any drugs, including alcohol as this can substantially increase risk of side-effects.
  • If you begin to feel drunk or strange after only a few drinks, seek help from a trusted friend or management at the club or pub – in case you are becoming ill, are at risk of an accident or of ending up with people who may not look after you.
  • If you do take drugs, try to make sure you are with friends and tell them exactly what you have taken in case you run into difficulties, including whether you are mixing your drugs.
  • Make sure you keep properly hydrated, particularly if you are taking dance drugs like ecstasy.  But be careful; too much water consumption can also be dangerous. You should consume no more than a pint of non-alcoholic fluid, such as water, fruit juice or an isotonic drink every hour.

Legal doesn’t mean safe

  • Be wary of so-called ‘legal highs’. For example, the legal high 2-DPMP (found in the product Ivory Wave), has recently been associated with a number of hospitalisations. Just because a substance is legal, it doesn’t mean it’s safe.
  • Legal highs contain a range of potentially dangerous chemicals, and their makeup changes all the time - so you can never be certain what you have bought, and what the effects might be.

Remember you can talk to FRANK for free and in confidence 24 hours a day on 0300 123 6600.