After 12 years of schooling, teens all over Australia are looking forward to partying and letting loose, and heading off to schoolies with friends is one way to celebrate and leave the last 12 months behind.
Here are some helpful tips to stay safe, look after your mates and have the best time.
Before you head out
- Check your phone is fully charged.
- Have something to eat. Drinking on an empty stomach can mean you finish your night earlier that you wanted and maybe not feeling too good.
- If you or your friends have a car, leave it behind. If someone does plan to take the car, nominate a non-drinker to drive. Remember you still might have alcohol in your system from the night before if you plan to drive the next morning.
- Make sure you have enough money to get home – just in case you're left stranded. Also don't forget the name and address of your hotel or accommodation where you're staying.
- Try setting a limit on how many drinks you'll have before you start and stick to it. Know what a standard drink is to help you can keep count. Try this standard drinks calculator and pour some drinks to test your knowledge.
When you're out
- Choose a meeting spot in case you get separated from your friends.
- Drink water or soft drinks between alcoholic drinks to avoid drinking too much alcohol to quickly. This also helps you stay hydrated and can help reduce the hangover the next day.
- Remember straight spirits, shots and cocktails have more alcohol by volume than beer or wine, so pace yourself, and consider having no more than one per hour.
- Avoid rounds or shouts as you can end up drinking more than you'd planned and spending more than you wanted.
- Limit the amount of caffeine you have and avoid mixing energy drinks and alcohol. The caffeine can mask the effects of alcohol and you could be drinking more than you realise.
- Eat something while you out (but try to avoid salty snacks as they can make you thirsty).
- Don't feel pressured by your mates – if you think you've had too much, or don't want any, say no. Here are some tips if you need help saying no to your mates.
- If you're out in a group, keep track of everyone in the group and make sure no one gets left behind.
- If a friend wants to go home before you, stay with them until they are safely in a taxi or their rideshare car has arrived. Ask them to share their location so you can see they arrive at the right location.
- Hold on to your own stuff and don't rely on others to carry it for you. You might get separated and you won't have your phone or money.
- If you can't wake someone up, or you think they may have suffered a head injury from an alcohol related fall – call an ambulance immediately – dial Triple Zero (000).
The next day
- Drink plenty of water to rehydrate.
- Check in with your friends to make sure everyone is ok.
- Make sure to eat something so you have food in your stomach.
- Don't drive as you still might have alcohol in your system from the night before.
True or false about alcohol
slows the absorption of alcohol into your body.
bread to a drunk person will sober them up.
can stay in your system well into the next day - so you could still be over the
limit if you drive somewhere after you wake up.
vomiting or a cold shower speeds up the time it takes to remove alcohol from
can overdose on alcohol.
headache tablet will make your hangover go away.
Drink spiking is when a person deliberately adds more alcohol (eg. double/triple shot) or a drug (eg. GHB, benzodiazepines) to another person's drink without their knowledge to make the person become intoxicated unexpectedly. Drinks can be spiked for amusement or to facilitate sexual assault, rape or theft.
Drink spiking is serious and illegal. To prevent drink spiking you should:
- keep an eye on your drink
- avoid sharing drinks
- buy or pour your own drink
- don't accept drinks from people you don't know well or trust
- if your drink tastes funny, pour it out
- look after your friends and their drinks
If you think your drink has been spiked:
- ask someone you trust to get you to a safe place
- visit a hospital or your doctor asap to test for the presence of drugs.
If you feel unwell or suspect that you have been sexually assaulted, call Triple Zero (000) or go to the nearest NSW Health Sexual Assault Service or Emergency Department.
Where to get help
In an emergency call triple zero (000). Always remember that ambos are there to help you and the police will only get involved if there's a direct threat to their safety.
Some locations have peer support volunteers to help you while you're when out and about. Look out for the Red Frog volunteers, they are there to help you.
For free and confidential advice 24/7 call the Alcohol and Drug Information Service (ADIS) on 1800 250 015. Counsellors are available to provide information, referrals, crisis counselling and support. Or start a web chat with an ADIS counsellor online Monday to Friday, 8.30am – 5pm.