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Partying: 7 Things That Can Go Wrong

Why partying may be riskier than you think

3. Someone passes you a joint.

"It's totally natural," people might tell you at a party. But natural does not mean harmless.

Studies show that smoking marijuana has the same effect on your ability to drive as being drunk -- and that it's addictive.

The weed people might have smoked decades ago wasn't as strong as what's being grown today. "And it's [sometimes] being laced with LSD, cocaine, and heroin, so you don't really ever know what you're getting," Nash says.

What to do: Decline. If you feel that "No" is not enough, you can say it makes you sick, sleepy, or that it doesn't do anything for you. Anyone who pressures you is out of line.

4. Your date or ride home bailed on you.

You absolutely must have a safe ride home, no matter what.

Car accidents are the top cause of death among U.S. teens. And face it: No one ever thinks it's going to happen to them.

What to do:

  • Find someone else you know well enough -- and who's sober -- to drive you. If you can't, call a parent, older sibling, or someone else you know for sure is responsible.
  • Embarrassed about having a parent come get you? Ask them to park a few blocks away from the party and walk to your car with a friend.
  • If you can't reach someone you know, call a cab, says Nash.

Always keep a $20 bill for emergency cab fare in a pocket or your shoe (that way, you won't lose it.) Store a taxi company's phone number in your cell phone. If you don't have cash on hand, you can always get the cab fare when you get home.

5. A guy is getting sexually aggressive with you.

First, tell him to back off. "Leave me alone," usually works, Nash says. Tell him "No."

If he's still being pushy, stick with your friends, and tell someone you know. Better yet, find a guy friend who can stand with you. If you're really feeling scared, just leave, Nash says.

Don't be left alone with the guy who's bothering you. If that happens, be sure to tell a friend. Take someone with you if you have to go to the bathroom or to the car.

If you think you were sexually assaulted, call 911 and go to an ER immediately. Don't be afraid to do this, even if you weren't sober at the time. It is not your fault, and no one is going to judge you. Don't shower, change clothes, brush your teeth, or use the toilet if you can avoid it, because you could lose valuable evidence of any crime that was committed against you.

6. Your parents said to call no matter what, but you’re scared they’ll flip out.

You may cringe first, but you need to prep your parents before you head to a party. So:

  • Be up-front. Tell them where you're going.
  • Enlist their help. Say, "If alcohol is involved and I get into a sticky situation, I want to be able to call you without you freaking out or lecturing me."
  • Make a deal. Strike a compromise that you won't discuss the issue that night, but you will the following morning.
  • Backup plan. If you don't have the kind of relationship with your folks where you can have such a discussion, find another responsible adult to be your go-to person: a friend's parent, an older sibling, or a neighbor.

When in doubt, never hesitate to call or go to the ER if you or a friend is in danger. "I'm not going to turn you in to the police just because you're high or drunk. That's not my job," Gillespie says.

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