• When drinking

    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.

  • Around drugs

    The safest way to stay safe around drugs at Schoolies is to say no and not use them. Drugs are not worth the risk!

  • At the Schoolies hub

    If you are celebrating Schoolies on the Gold Coast, it is likely you will be spending your nights partying at the Schoolies Hub on Surfers Paradise beach.

  • Out and about

    Worried about staying safe at Schoolies? We've come up with a list of easy and practical tips to help you stay safe so you can have an enjoyable Schoolies for all the right reasons.

  • With sex

    If you choose to engage in sexual activity at Schoolies, it's important for you to decide if you want to have sex, that you both consent to the sexual activity and that you have safe sex every time.

  • With social media and privacy

    If it didn't happen on social media, it didn't happen right? When you upload photos or video to social media, you run the risk of not knowing where it may end up.

  • In your accommodation

    You may think your accommodation may be one of the safest places to be at Schoolies, but it can often be the place where a lot of risk taking behaviour occurs.

  • On the go

    Whether you're travelling by bike or vehicle during Schoolies, make sure you check out our tips below, especially the laws and responsibilities that come with hiring a scooter on the Gold Coast.

  • Around water

    We don't want to bang on about it but a lot of things can go wrong when you're enjoying the sun and surf, especially if you've been drinking or using drugs.

The only way to stay safe around drugs at Schoolies is to say no and not use them. Drugs are not worth the risk!

Not only are drugs illegal, but they are dangerous – even life threatening. Remember that Schoolies is all about having a good time and celebrating your achievements with your friends. Make good choices so your Schoolies experience is about creating great memories, not bad ones.

What am I taking?

When it comes to drug making/manufacturing, there is no quality control so you can never know where they’re made, who made them or what they contain. More often than not, they can include ‘fillers’ such as chlorine, veterinary tranquilisers, talcum powder or everyday household cleaning chemicals.

How will it affect me?

Every time you take drugs, you’re gambling with your life. Not only can you never be sure of what you are taking but more importantly, you never know how your body will react. Just because a drug hasn’t had any effect on your friends doesn’t mean that you will have the same experience.

The effects of drugs can be inconsistent and unpredictable - effects can vary between people or can give different results for the same person on different occasions.

If you choose to take drugs at Schoolies:

  • there is no safe level of drug use - taking drugs is always risky
  • stick with your friends as drugs can affect your judgement - they can also get you help in the event of an emergency
  • stay hydrated by taking small sips of water (it’s important not to drink more than 500ml in an hour)
  • tell a friend what you have taken – in the event of an overdose or negative reaction, it will make it easier for emergency services to treat you
  • don’t mix drugs including alcohol, prescription medication or caffeine
  • start small – try a test amount first and then wait two hours
  • avoid taking large amounts of any drug
  • don’t drive or swim as drugs can affect your judgement and reflexes
  • drugs and depression don’t mix – they can heighten your mood and make your symptoms worse
  • misuse of legally purchased substances (e.g. inhaling nangs), is not risk-free and can be harmful to your health
  • in an emergency, don’t risk it – always call Triple Zero (000). Getting help for a friend can be one of the best things you can do for them.

The Safer Schoolies team does not condone the consumption or possession of illegal drugs, or the misuse of legally purchased substances or prescription medication.

It’s okay to say no

Even if you have made the decision that drugs won’t be a part of your Schoolies experience, you may still get offered drugs or even feel pressured to take them. It’s normal to want to be with your mates, feel included and avoid conflict so we get it - 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’ve got plans for tomorrow I don’t want to ruin
  • 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 party? Be a good friend and sit this one out with them.

Prescription medication tips

Only use prescription medication for its intended purpose. Intentionally misusing or mixing different types of prescription medication can be really dangerous.

  • don't wing it - if you're going to be taking any kind of prescription medication during Schoolies, make sure you visit your GP beforehand so you can chat about the impacts of mixing alcohol with your medication.
  • tell your mates - make sure you're open with your mates that you're staying with so that someone knows what type of medication you're on (in case of a medical emergency)
  • it's up to you - make sure you're clear on dosage instructions, are able to store or safely carry your medication if needed
  • have a backup - with all the sun, surf and action going on, it's easy to get caught up in the moment and forget about time. Easy fix - set a reminder in your phone of when need to take your medication.

In an emergency

Getting help for a mate who is having a bad reaction to drugs is one of the best things you can do for a friend. Stay with them and call Triple Zero (000).

Signs someone might need medical help:

  • unconscious or collapse
  • aggressiveness, paranoia, extreme agitation or distressed
  • slow or shallow breathing (less than 6 breaths per minute)
  • can’t be woken from sleep
  • choking
  • pale or blueish skin
  • seizure or shaking
  • vomiting.

Don’t risk it! If your friend is having a bad reaction to drugs, act quickly 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.

Ambulance officers and paramedics will NOT notify the police when they respond to an emergency where illicit drugs are involved unless:

  • there is a risk to physical safety
  • a death has occurred at the scene
  • a person has suffered a violent injury such as a stabbing or shooting.

Fines and the law

Regardless of where you are planning on celebrating Schoolies in Australia, the consumption and possession of illicit drugs is illegal.

If you get caught by the police and charged with committing an offence, you will be dealt with in the criminal justice system. Having a criminal record can drastically affect your future. It can remove opportunities such as getting a job or being allowed to travel to other countries.

Important to remember:

  • it is illegal to drive under the influence of drugs. Police often do roadside testing for both alcohol and drugs during Schoolies
  • police can search you for illegal drugs if they have reasonable cause to suspect that you have some in your possession
  • possessing, producing or supplying others with illegal drugs is a serious criminal offence
  • possessing an implement (e.g. bong, cannabis pipe, needle) that is used for smoking or taking illegal drugs is an offence
  • it is illegal for you to give someone prescription drugs, other than as prescribed
  • selling or supplying tobacco to someone under the age of 18 years of age is illegal
  • if you are caught committing an offence, you will be dealt with in the criminal justice system.

The penalties associated with these offences can be harsh depending on the quantity and type of drug involved – especially if you commit a drug offence overseas.

DID YOU KNOW? The possession and consumption of illicit drugs is illegal in Australia. Drug convictions can affect employment options and your ability to travel overseas.