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November 27, 2018

Reducing the risks of drugs

Avoiding the risk of drugs

Even though you may come across drugs at Schoolies, you don’t have to take them in order to have fun. In fact, avoiding drugs is the best way to make sure you create good memories. If you are going to take drugs be aware there is always a risk of harm. It is also important to seek help if you or someone you know is in trouble or unwell and remember ambulance officers do not need to involve the police. Below are some things that you can do to reduce the risk of getting sick, having an accident or overdosing.

Reducing the risks of drugs:

  • It is safer to take a small amount first as it’s impossible to know how strong the drug is and what it is made from. If you are going to take a pill start with a quarter.1
  • Be patient and wait for at least an hour to see how it affects you before you decide to take any more.1
  • Listen to your instincts. If you are feeling anxious or a little down taking drugs will most likely heighten your mood, so its best if you are uncertain to turn them down.2
  • If you’re using a stimulant drug like ecstasy, speed or ice, take regular breaks from dancing and make sure you get enough rest, even if you don’t feel tired.
  • Keep hydrated to avoid heatstroke. Make sure to drink water regularly, however it can be harmful if you drink too much so aim for a pint of water an hour.1
  • Communicate with your friends. Let them know what you are going to take and how much, so they can help you out if you become unwell and inform ambulance officers of what you have taken.
  • Be aware that mixing different kinds of drugs increases your risk of harm. Taking drugs with alcohol and prescription medicines can lead to unpredictable effects, such as physical accidents and overdose.
  • Don’t drive or swim. This includes when you are ‘coming down’ from drugs because they affect your reflexes and judgment. It can take a few days to ‘come down’ from some drugs.

Don’t hesitate to call an ambulance – if anyone looks like they’ve had a bad reaction to drugs, including passing out, call an ambulance immediately by dialling triple zero (000). Ambulance officers don’t have to involve police. Wait for the ambulance with the person who is sick. Keep crowds back, make sure the person has fresh air, and keep them calm and out of trouble. If they want to lie down, put them on their side in case they vomit.

Drugs you might come across:

Drugs you may come across at Schoolies include cannabis, ecstasy, LSD, ice and speed. But there are also new drugs that are being used. These drugs are known as synthetic drugs, but they are also being called lots of different names like herbal highs, party pills, and bath salts. Sometimes they try and mimic the effects of common illegal drugs.

  • The ingredients in any drug (unless dispensed from a chemist) differ between batches, so it’s impossible to know exactly what’s in them, how strong they are and how they might affect you. Something that looks like ecstasy may actually be a new synthetic drug that might be stronger and have more serious side effects.
  • Synthetic drugs come in the form of powders, pills, and dried herbs that have been sprayed with synthetic chemicals.
  • Sometimes these drugs are advertised as legal, but this often isn’t true and doesn’t mean they are safe. In fact, the effects of synthetic drugs are often more unpredictable than common illegal drugs.

If you are celebrating overseas:

If you are planning an overseas trip know where to find help (such as the Australian embassy) or medical assistance if you should need it. You should also be aware of the laws around drug possession if you are in an unfamiliar place. Destinations such as Bali have incredibly strict penalties for drug possession, the best choice is to steer clear of drugs.

  • Always book travel insurance, if you are celebrating overseas it is important to have the costs covered if you become unwell.
  • Keep a photo or scanned copy of your important documents such as your passport.
  • Tell your family and friends where you are planning to go and keep in contact with them if change your itinerary.2 You can also register your travel plans at Smart Traveller.

Further information for Schoolies

Overseas

Smartraveller
Online advice for schoolies

National

Redfrogs
National Schoolies volunteers

Legal advice
Am I old enough? Common legal issues for young people

Good Times Great Breaks
Schoolies information, support and free services.

References
  1. The Loop 2016. Club Drug Info: Top Clubbing Tips.
  2. Better Health Channel 2018, Partying safely – schoolies week.