FACT: It is illegal to drink if you are under the age of 18. If caught you could be hit with a hefty fine. Not drinking is the safest option.

You don't need to drink to have a good time at Schoolies. There is so many other things to do – go to the beach, visit the theme parks, go shopping, see a movie, go to the beach parties – and they don’t leave you with a hangover the next day! 

Alcohol is a depressant which causes the brain to slow down, resulting in slurred speech, poor muscle control and judgement, confusion, slower reaction time, poor vision and lack of coordination.

During adolescence the brain is still developing, making young people more sensitive to the effects of alcohol. If you are over the age of 18 and choose to drink at Schoolies, it’s risky to have more than two standard drinks per day (on average). The easy way to check how many standard drinks you are consuming is to read the label. All alcohol packaging must state how many standard drinks the product contains.

If you choose to drink:

  • Don’t drink too quickly. If you have shots or skol it will hit you like a freight train. You don't want to stay home with your head in the toilet while your friends go to the beach party, right?
  • Avoid alcohol if you are taking any medications. The side effects could be very serious.
  • Give your body a break — have some alcohol-free days. Watch a movie or have a BBQ at your apartment and spend some time kicking back with your friends. Your body will thank you for it! 
  • Pace yourself and make every second drink a non-alcoholic one. You'll feel a lot better the next day.
  • Choose drinks with low alcohol content, such as light beer.
  • Eat before or while you're drinking.
  • Know your limits. Know when you have had enough and stick to it. Tell a friend to keep an eye on you and stop you when you've had enough to drink.
  • Avoid drinking in 'rounds' or 'shouts'. It can get expensive and you can end up drinking more than you wanted to.

Forget the myths, the only way to sober up is to wait, or not drink at all. It generally takes about one hour for the body to clear one standard drink.

The Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation website provides further information about underage drinking.

FACT: It is an offence to supply alcohol to minors.

Read more information about alcohol fines.

Drink-spiking: it happens

Drink-spiking can happen anywhere, including quiet premises and private parties. Your drink could even be spiked by friends or people you know. Chances are you won't see or smell any difference. It doesn’t always have to be spiked with drugs either – a drink could be spiked with alcohol and result in you getting very drunk.

Signs of drink-spiking include:

  • feeling dizzy, faint, sick or sleepy
  • feeling drunk, even if you have only had a little alcohol to drink
  • passing out
  • waking up feeling disoriented and sick, with memory blanks about the night before.

You can take steps to protect yourself and your friends from drink-spiking.

    • Stay with your friends.
    • Always keep an eye on your drink and never leave it unattended.
    • Know what is in your drink.
    • Don't share or swap your drinks.
    • Don’t accept drinks from people you don’t know very well or drink something you did not see poured or opened.
    • Throw away drinks that taste funny or salty.
    • If you feel sick or dizzy ask someone you trust to take you to a safe place.

Drink-spiking with any substance, including alcohol, is a crime. You should always report incidents to the police. They could stop it happening to someone else.

If you think a friend may have had their drink spiked get them medical attention. Do not leave them alone or with a stranger. If you are alone find a volunteer or ambulance officer for help immediately.

If you can't get your friend to wake up, or they are behaving unusually or collapse, call an ambulance immediately by dialling Triple Zero (000).

It may be hard to tell if someone is sleeping or unconscious – if you suspect their drink has been spiked and they don’t respond, seek help immediately.

For information and counselling call the Alcohol and Drug Information Service on free call 1800 177 833.

You think your friend has had their drink spiked?

We had spent all day getting organised for our first night at Schoolies. When we arrived at the party, it was packed with people from school and some randoms that we didn't know.

We got a drink each and our favourite song came on, so we all got up to dance. We left our drinks on the table next to the couches we were sitting on. When the song ended, we went back to finish our drinks. We danced to a couple more songs and were having a great time, when we noticed one of our friends, Tegan* was acting really drunk and stumbling around. It was really weird because we'd all only had one drink!

What should I do?

Tegan’s drink may have been spiked. If a friend has their drink spiked go to the first aid area or the nearest volunteer and ask for help. If you’re at your accommodation call Triple Zero (000) and request an ambulance.

Drinks can be spiked with drugs or alcohol and it could be spiked by someone you know.

* Real names have not been used.