Dealing with a bad reaction to a drug

Some drugs, like alcohol and ice, can make a person aggressive if they have a bad reaction. If this happens:

Stay calm

  • Move slowly and try not to make too much eye contact
  • Give them space and don’t crowd them
  • Keep your voice low, calm and steady
  • Quietly move children away
  • Make the area as safe as you can; remove dangerous objects
  • Don’t ask too many questions
  • Say things like, ‘I am not angry with you – I just want to make sure you are safe.’
  • Try and use their name, like ‘Jason, can you tell me what is going on for you?’


  • Be supportive. Tell them that they’ll be okay, and what they’re feeling will go away when the drug wears off.
  • Help them calm down by encouraging them to move to a quiet place where they can rest.
  • Listen to them and respond with calming comments. This isn’t the time to argue.


If you’re worried about anyone who has drunk alcohol or taken drugs, call an ambulance by dialling triple zero (000). Paramedics don’t have to involve the police.

If the person gets violent or threatens to hurt themselves or someone else, move yourself and others to a safe place and call the police by dialling triple zero (000).