Do you trust the people you use with? It's a simple question really, but for a lot of people its a lot harder to answer that you'd think.
Every injecting relationship has to have a level of trust. After all in most cases all the people involved are breaking a law, sometimes many laws. Close relationships already have an existing amount of trust and social capital, but not every injecting relationship is considered a close one.
Relationships of convenience
Often an injecting relationship may be more to do with increasing the access to a drug than strong bonds of friendship, and in this kind of situation there will be little or no existing trust developed.
So what happens when someone 'goes over'? We know from research with injectors that around 50% of the time when someone overdoses there is a second person present. No problem then - ambulance called...
...not always. If you have no existing trust built up the fear connected with calling an ambulance and the resulting circus can be enough to stop someone calling at all. Even calling an ambulance and then doing a runner can mean someone dies before the medics arrive.
What we need is to know the people we choose to inject with will be willing to do the right thing if we OD; that they'll phone paramedics, put us in the recovery position and stay with us until the medics get there.
Make a promise
The best way to make people understand the need to stay with you if you OD is to let them know you'll stay with them if they do. Think about the people you use with from day to day and week to week, have you had that kind of conversation with them? Maybe now is the time.
Make a promise to people that if either of you overdose the other one will help.
Nothing affects someone as much as knowing they acted to save a life - or by not doing the right thing caused someone to die. Have the conversation with the people you use with, it could save your life.
Nigel Brunsdon is the owner of Injecting Advice.com. He's been working in harm reduction since the 1990's, although he's previously a frontline needle programme worker he now spends most of his time developing online resources for drugs workers and users.