Queensland Ambulance Clinical Director Tony Hucker
Queensland Ambulance Clinical Director Tony Hucker

Why 'don't do drugs' is naive, potentially deadly advice

WHEN simply saying to teens 'don't do drugs' isn't working, a top paramedic has shared tips on realistically reducing risk.

In his 40 years on the job, Queensland Ambulance Service clinical director Tony Hucker has seen first-hand the devastating impact of drug-related deaths.

Speaking to the Chronicle as part of News Corp's special investigation, The Ripple Effect, into party drugs and their effect on the community, Mr Hucker said telling young people to abstain from popping pills wasn't going to fix the problem.

"I'm a senior paramedic and people expect me to say 'don't take drugs'. It's the right thing to say because it minimises risk but its ultimately naive. I would rather say there is enormous amount of risk in taking drugs and we need to minimise harm."

Mr Hucker explained there were simple rules to abide by if a person did choose to take a drug to minimise the risk of the worst case scenario.


"First and foremost, look after your buddies, know some general first aid and don't be afraid to ring an ambulance," he said.

"From a perspective of drinking alcohol and/or taking party drugs, I think you should never be alone if you decide to take either."

Other steps Mr Hucker recommends include always have a trusted friend with you and keeping them informed about what you have taken.

"If you take drugs, never be the first one to take a particular drug, never take another dose quickly after the first one and if it is the first time you are doing it only take half a dose because you don't know how your body will react," he continued.


"Have a plan if something goes wrong and call for help early rather than later.

"We hope people understand the issues of being worried about being charged or getting into trouble needs to be secondary.

"If they are severely intoxicated, hot and dehydrated they are approaching death and the sooner they get help the better."