• Strategies and advice to help keep you safe when drinking during Schoolies.

  • Strategies and advice to help keep you safe if you choose to take drugs during Schoolies.

  • Tips and advice on how to stay safe when celebrating in the Schoolies beach hub.

  • Strategies on how to stay safe during sex at Schoolies .

  • Learn how to protect yourself and your friends on social media during Schoolies.

  • Tips and advice to help keep you safe in your Schoolies accommodation.

  • Practical tips to keep you safe when out and about during Schoolies.

You don’t need to drink to have a great time at Schoolies. Alcohol may be considered to be the most socially acceptable drug, however, it is responsible for more drug-related deaths and trauma within youth than any other drug.

Alcohol is a depressant which causes the brain to slow down resulting in slurred speech, poor judgement, confusion, slower reaction time, poor vision and lack of coordination. During adolescence, the brain is still developing, making you more sensitive to the effects of alcohol.

Drinking may make you feel happier, more confident and hyper. It can also make it harder to control your emotions, impulses, make good choices and ultimately, lead you to do things you may not normally do which you may later regret. Oh, and not to mention, it can make you feel pretty crappy the next day.

If you are under the age of 18, it is illegal to drink alcohol at Schoolies. It is also illegal to drink in public and to be drunk in a public place – no matter what your age. These are the laws for all of Queensland - not just during Schoolies.

If you are over the age of 18 and choose to drink:

  • pace yourself – shots and sculling will hit you like a freight train and there’s a good chance you’ll end up with your head in the toilet and miss all the fun
  • eat before or while you’re drinking
  • it’s okay to say no. If you think you’ve had too much or don’t want to drink, just say no
  • avoid mixing alcohol and medication (or any type of drug) – the side effects could be very serious
  • stay hydrated – make every second drink a non-alcoholic one (this will help you avoid a nasty hangover the next day too)
  • know your limits - decide on a limit and stick to it. Ask a friend to keep an eye on you and remind you to stop when you’ve reached that limit
  • do not supply alcohol to your underage mates – you could face a fine of $10,444
  • if you’re feeling depressed, anxious or just not yourself, it’s best to avoid alcohol as it can often make your symptoms worse
  • give your body a break - just because you’re at Schoolies doesn’t mean you have to drink every night (your body will thank you for it)
  • do not drive
  • take it in turns to have one sober friend every night
  • do not drink alcohol in public – it is illegal at any age
  • keep an eye on your drinks as drink spiking can happen to anyone, and be done by anyone – even mates
  • when out and about, if you or a friend have had too much to drink, know that you can always ask a Safer Schoolies volunteer for assistance
  • know that it’s risky to have more than two standard drinks per day (on average).

In the event of an emergency, don’t risk it. Always call Triple Zero (000)

It’s okay to say no

If you are under the age of 18 or have simply made the decision to not drink at Schoolies, you may still get offered alcohol or even feel pressured to drink. It’s normal to want to be with your mates, feel included and avoid conflict so we get it that saying no can be really hard.

Tips to help you say no:

  • Simply say no and let the person know that you really mean it.
  • Stand up straight and make eye contact when saying no.
  • Be prepared with an excuse just in case e.g. nah, not tonight / I’m not feeling great / I’m sitting out tonight
  • Change the subject
  • Remove yourself from the situation
  • Find something else to do with other friends

Remember, the human body is not designed to party for seven days straight. Got a mate who doesn’t want to drink? Be a good friend and sit this one out with them.

True or false?
“I can sober up quickly by taking a cold shower or drinking coffee.”
FALSE. On average, it takes two to three hours for a single drink to leave the body. Nothing can speed up the process, including drinking coffee, taking a cold shower or ‘walking it off’. The only way to sober up is to give your body time to process the alcohol you’ve consumed.
“Beer and wine are safer than spirits.”
FALSE. Alcohol is alcohol, it can cause you problems no matter what you consume.
“You can die from drinking alcohol.”
TRUE. Alcohol is a powerful drug that slows down the body and mind. Drinking too much alcohol too fast can lead to alcohol poisoning which can kill you.
“If someone is under the age of 18, has had too much to drink and is very unwell, calling Triple Zero (000) will lead them to get in trouble with the police.”
FALSE. In the event of an emergency, don’t risk it – always call Triple Zero (000). Emergency services priority is for the health and safety of the patient.

Drink spiking

Drink spiking is the act of putting alcohol or drugs in to someone’s drink without their knowledge or permission. It can often be linked to crimes such as sexual assault or robbery. It can occur at any time and can be done by anyone, even mates.

Drink spiking is illegal – even if it was done to a friend as a joke.

There are many forms of drink spiking:

  • slipping drugs (illegal or prescription) in to any alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink
  • adding extra alcohol to an alcoholic drink
  • adding alcohol to a non-alcoholic drink.

How to protect yourself from drink spiking:

  • prepare or buy your own drinks – don’t accept from others, particularly strangers
  • don’t take your eyes off your drinks or leave them unattended
  • do not share or swap drinks with others
  • be wary if someone serves you a drink that is different from what you requested
  • try to stick to drinks in bottles with screw top lids
  • if you feel sick or dizzy, ask someone you trust to take you to a safe place
  • if you suspect drink spiking, don’t risk it – always call Triple Zero (000).

Top tip – if you think a friend may have had their drink spiked, seek medical attention straight away. Do not leave them alone or with a stranger.

If you can’t get your friend to wake up, if they are behaving unusually or collapse, don’t risk it – call Triple Zero (000).

In an emergency

Getting help for a mate who has had too much to drink is one of the best things you can do as a friend. Stay with them and call Triple Zero (000).

Signs someone might need medical help:

  • vomiting
  • collapse
  • can’t be woken from sleep
  • choking
  • pale or blueish skin
  • seizure or shaking
  • slow or shallow breathing (less than six breaths per minute).

Don’t risk it! If your friend is unconscious, roll them on to their side in the recovery position and call Triple Zero (000).

Don’t ever let the fear of getting in trouble stop you from calling Triple Zero. The health and safety of your friend is the main concern of emergency services.

Fines and the law

Regardless of where you are planning on celebrating Schoolies, be aware that the laws surrounding alcohol may be different in each state or country.

In Queensland, you must be over 18 years of age to enter a licensed venue or purchase alcohol.

Police and Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation inspectors can issue on-the-spot fines for:

  • drinking in a public place: $431* (under 18) or $143* (18 years and over)
  • underage drinking or possession of liquor in a public place, even if you're holding a drink for your friend who is over 18: $431*
  • being under 18 and found on licensed premises: $431*
  • being under 18 and found drinking or just holding a drink for a friend on licensed premises $431*.

*or you could be taken to court and fined for each offence you commit.

If you’re 18 and you supply alcohol to your underage mates, you could face a fine of $1,150 (with a maximum up to $10,676).

*Fines are correct at the time of publishing.

In addition to fines, you could also be taken to court for each offence you commit.

You can read more about on-the-spot fines and what to do if you receive an on-the-spot fine.

Did you know? If you’re convicted of a criminal offence, you may find it difficult to get a job or even be prevented from obtaining a visa to travel overseas.