Alcohol and drugs

Alcohol during Schoolies


Is it okay to buy alcohol for my teenager to take to Schoolies?

NO! Providing alcohol to underage children where there is no responsible supervision is not only dangerous, it is illegal.

Penalties are high. If you get caught providing alcohol to your underage child for consumption in an unsupervised environment, you will face penalties of up to $10,444.

Adults must provide responsible supervision to minors when supplying alcohol for consumption in private places such as parties or at Schoolies.

Police can seize alcohol that has being recklessly provided to or has the potential to cause harm to minors. Police can also confiscate alcohol in cars and public places, and dispose of alcohol they reasonably suspect is destined for unsupervised consumption by minors.

Police and Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation inspectors will be on the lookout for underage drinkers and adults supplying alcohol to minors during Schoolies.

For more information, visit the Most expensive drink webpage. You can also read more about irresponsible supply and underage drinking on the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation's website.

What alcohol and drug issues should we talk about?

  • Talk to your teenager about knowing their limits. Tell them it is OK to say no, and that they don’t need alcohol to have a good time. If they choose to drink alcohol, discuss how to drink responsibly. Simple tips for you to share include limiting drinks, knowing when to stop drinking, having water between alcoholic drinks, eating something, and that it takes approximately one hour for the body to process one standard drink. All the myths about ways to sober up are just that; only time can make someone sober.
  • If your teen is driving at Schoolies, make sure they’re aware of drink driving laws and that they may still have alcohol in their system the next day.
  • Drink-spiking can happen. Remind your teenager to keep their drink with them at all times, keep it covered in a crowded place and to not accept drinks from people they don't know or trust.
  • If they think they’ve had their drink spiked, or think a friend has had their drink spiked, make sure they know to call Triple Zero (000) immediately.
  • Underage drinking or possession of liquor in a public place could result in a fine.
  • If your teenager is underage and found in licensed premises, they could be fined.
  • If your teenager is 18 and buys alcohol for their underage mates they could be fined up to $10,444.
  • Combining alcohol and drugs, including prescription medication, is dangerous.
  • Illicit drugs users can never be sure what they are getting. These types of drugs are extremely dangerous.
  • Drugs are illegal. If your teen is caught committing an offence, they will be dealt with in the criminal justice system. Drug convictions can affect employment options and the ability to travel overseas.

10 ways to encourage your kids to talk about drugs with you.

1. Be an active part of their lives

Set aside time to spend with your kids. Take an interest in their activities and establish a routine for doing things with them. Spending time as a family is important, like eating together every day. When they go out, ask where they're going or who they'll be with.

2. Listen to your kids

Showing that you're prepared and willing to listen will help your kids feel more comfortable when talking with you. Try not to interrupt them or react in a way that will stop whatever you're discussing. Encourage them to feel comfortable about telling you their problems, and ask for their input on family decisions to show that you value their opinions.

3. Be a role model

When it comes to drugs, the saying 'do as I say, not as I do', does not apply. You can't expect your kids to take your advice if you take drugs yourself. It's important not to underestimate the influence your behaviour has on them, particularly when it comes to alcohol, smoking, or the misuse of medications.

4. Be honest with them

It's natural that you won't necessarily know everything about drugs. So while it's important to be informed, you shouldn't pretend to have answers to every question. Be prepared to say “I don't know, but I'll find out for you”. If you're honest and clear about where you stand, your kids will find it easier to be honest with you.

5. Pick your moment

Make sure you pick the right time to talk about drugs with your kids, by taking advantage of natural opportunities to discuss the issue. This might be when you're all watching TV, or when they're talking about their friends and/or someone at school.

6. Be calm

When it comes to talking about drugs, being calm and rational is important. Do not overreact, ridicule or lecture, as this could make future discussions about drugs more difficult and make your kids more resistant to talking about the issue at all.

7. Avoid conflict

It's difficult to solve a problem when there's a conflict. Try to see your child's point of view while encouraging them to understand yours. If a confrontation does develop, stop the conversation and come back to it when everyone is calmer.

8. Keep talking

Once you've had a discussion about drugs it's important to talk about it again when the need arises. Start talking to your kids about drugs early, and be willing to talk to your kids about the issue at any time.

9. Set clear boundaries

Generally kids expect and appreciate some ground rules. By actively involving them in setting the rules you can encourage them to take more responsibility for sticking to them. Once you've decided on these rules, enforce them, and let your kids know the consequences of breaking them.

Discuss and agree to ways your kids will act if they find themselves in situations where drugs are present. For example, let them know that you'll always collect them from a party or friend’s house if they need you to, whatever the hour.

However, make it absolutely clear that you would rather they didn't put themselves in a situation where they are likely to be exposed to drugs in the first place.

10. Focus on positives

Recognise your kids' good behaviour and emphasise the things they do well. Encourage them to feel good about themselves and let them know that they deserve respect and should also respect themselves.

For more ideas on how you can comfortably talk to your kids about drugs, visit the National Drugs Campaign website.