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Partying: 7 Things That Can Go Wrong

Why partying may be riskier than you think

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.

7. Your friends are going to a rave.

Often held at secret locations like warehouses and abandoned buildings, raves usually revolve around the club drug ecstasy, also called MDMA.

This addictive stimulant is a dangerous drug. The mixture of ecstasy and nonstop dancing for long periods of time can lead to overheating, excessive sweating, cramped muscles, blurred vision, nausea, anxiety, and potentially deadly dehydration because it can mess with your body's ability to control its temperature.

The drug can also lower the sensation of pain and make you think you're invincible. Gillespie says she's seen ER patients under the influence get massive tattoos they later regretted, and try to jump out of windows, convinced they will be fine.

What to do: Short of avoiding raves altogether, just go to dance, but don't drink or take drugs. And follow basic safety rules: Stay with your group of friends, have a safe way to get home, and make sure someone knows where you are.

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Reviewed on January 10, 2012

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