• 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.

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:

  • 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 friends 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 – life can get busy so why not set a reminder in your phone of when you 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). It’s better to spend a few minutes checking than a having a lifetime of regrets.

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.

Remember, the more accurate you can be about what has been taken, help can be provided to your friend quicker and more effectively.

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.

Ambulance officers and paramedics are not the Police. Your safety and that of your mates is their main priority.

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.