November 11, 2021

Staying safe on Schoolies


As we head towards the end of 2021, many Year 12s will be getting ready for Schoolies (also called Leavers in some states).

Finishing school is already a massive achievement, but doing so after a frustrating year is just another reason to proudly celebrate. With some COVID restrictions still around, things might look a bit different this year – but it’s still going to be a great time!

To make the most of your Schoolies celebrations, you’ll need to think about COVID safety, as well as reducing harm relating to alcohol and drug use (if that’s your thing).

Here we give you some tips to make sure you and your friends have the best time possible.

Take care of yourself and your friends

It’s easy to get caught up in the moment when you’re out with friends, but it’s also important to look after each other.

  • Keep in contact with your friends and share your movements. It’s all too easy to lose people when you’re out, so avoid ending up in a situation where you’re alone.
  • If friends decide to leave a venue or party early, make sure they get home safely. If no one’s leaving with them, wait with them until they get in a taxi or Uber and ask that they text you when they arrive at their destination. You could also ask your friend to share their location before their ride arrives so you can be sure they’ve ended up in the right spot
  • Be prepared for your phone to run out of battery or to lose reception – decide on a meet up spot.
  • Keep your belongings on you! Don’t rely on others to look after your stuff – you don’t want to be left alone without money or your phone.
  • Know the details of your hotel or accommodation so you can get home safely.
  • It’s OK to say no to sex – pressuring someone else into having sex is sexual assault. If you do decide to have sex, make sure to carry condoms.

Drink safely – what does that mean?

We know drinking too much can lead to some pretty risky behaviours, injuries or accidents. 

If you choose to drink, we’ve put together some handy tips for keeping safe:

  • Keep track of how much you’re drinking so you know when to stop. One way to do this is by tracking how many standard drinks you’re having. Read more about it here.
  • Eat before you head out – nobody has a good time when drinking on an empty stomach.
  • Swap out alcoholic drinks with glasses of water to avoid drinking too much too soon. It also keeps you hydrated and can help you avoid a hangover the next day.
  • Try not to drink too much caffeine and avoid combining energy drinks with alcohol as much as possible. Caffeine can mask the effects of alcohol which means you may drink more and not realise how drunk you really are!
  • Avoid activities where accidents can easily occur – swimming is a big one.
  • If you’re drinking during the day, don’t forget sunscreen! Drinking actually increases your risk of sunburn and heatstroke.
  • Don’t risk driving. Even a small amount of alcohol in your system can impair your judgement and lead to accidents. For learner or probationary drivers, your blood alcohol concentration level must be zero. And remember, drinking the night before can result in still being over the limit the next day.

Drink spiking

Drink spiking is when a person deliberately adds alcohol or another drug to someone’s drink without them knowing. Most drinks are spiked by adding extra alcohol rather than a drug. Drinks can be spiked by people you know as well as strangers.

Strategies to help keep you safe include:

  • having your drink close to you and keeping an eye on it
  • buying or pouring your own drinks and avoid sharing
  • going to the bar with someone you don’t know well if they offer you a drink, and watching the bartender pour your drink
  • pouring your drink out if you think it tastes weird
  • keeping an eye on your friends and their drinks.

If you suspect your drink or a friend’s drink has been spiked, call an ambulance immediately by dialling triple zero (000). Read more about drink spiking here.

Illicit drug use

Drugs can sometimes be part of Schoolies celebrations, so it’s important to know more about them to make informed decisions and help friends if they have a bad reaction.

Read more about drugs at Schoolies

If you want to know more about a specific drug, check out our Drug Facts pages or try our Text the Effects service on 0439 tell me (0439 835 563).

Schoolies and COVID

It’s important for everyone attending Schoolies to follow the latest COVID health directions in your state or territory. They may include:

  • bringing a mask with you in case they’re required indoors at certain venues
  • making sure to check in at each venue you attend
  • using hand sanitising stations as much as possible
  • checking the latest list of exposure sites in case they’re in areas close to your celebrations.

It’s also a good idea to get vaccinated against the virus. This not only protects yourself and others, it’ll give you access to venues and parties that require vaccination proof.

In case of emergencies

If something goes wrong at a party or venue and you feel upset or worried, try talking to a friend, calling a family member or contacting somebody else you trust. 

In an emergency, call triple zero (000) first. 

In some types of emergencies, people might be worried about other issues like getting into trouble with parents or the police especially in situations where:

  • someone has overdosed
  • someone has drunk too much
  • someone has had a bad reaction to a drug
  • you and your friends are somewhere where you aren't meant to be.

But remember, ambulance officers are there to help you and won’t involve the police unless there’s a direct threat to their safety.

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