STUDENTS were told how to spot the signs of alcohol overdoses and how to avoid them at a special pre-Christmas event.
Seven agencies gave information at the Isle of Man College of Further and Higher Education’s annual ‘Students’ Guide to Surviving Christmas’ Fair.
Student welfare officer Julie Bibby said: ‘The fair has two aims – helping students keep safe while enjoying partying and offering support to those for whom Christmas can be a sad, lonely, difficult or stressful time.
‘Lots of students participated in the activities and chatted with the stall holders. Hopefully they picked up some helpful tips as well as knowledge of local support agencies.’
Public health representatives provided information about keeping safe at festive house parties.
Cards with advice were available and students were guided to the website www.houseparty.im to find out more.
The Alcohol Advisory Service described the signs of alcohol overdose, including vomiting and slow irregular breathing. Students received chocolates containing messages about how overdose can be avoided; for example, eating before drinking, wrapping up warm and setting your own limits.
Victim Support talked about two types of punch. One of which is violent and one which is a pleasant drink, samples of which were available to be enjoyed.
A representative said: ‘We hope everyone has a safe and peaceful Christmas but if anyone does get a punch of the violent sort, we are here to help.’
DASH (Drug Advice Service and Helpline) provided information on two drugs which are concerning the agency.
Director Shelley Stanley said: ‘We are concerned about the rise in mephedrone use again and we want to make people aware of the dangers of ketamine.’
DASH volunteer Niall Gale added: ‘The best advice about ketamine is don’t use it as its effects can be so unpredictable and frightening.’
The Road Safety Team promoted its Christmas message which is that drinking and driving can lead to a 12-month ban or a £5,000 fine.
Team members suggested that those who want to drink leave the car at home and allocate a designated driver, get a bus or book a taxi. Leaflets containing bus times and taxi numbers were available.
For some people Christmas can be a difficult time and the Samaritans and Cruse Bereavement Care were on hand to offer their services.
A representative of the Samaritans said: ‘We want to let people know that, whatever is troubling them over the festive period, we are here to help. Samaritans are available 24/7: all year round including Christmas Day.’
Cruse manager Amanda Cafearo said: ‘We are here to talk about Christmas and what it means to people, especially if they are experiencing loss and loneliness through bereavement.’
Santa also called in for a visit and gave out some tangerines donated by Robinsons and mince pies provided by Shoprite.