Young people, alcohol and the law

Underage drinking

It’s illegal for staff of licensed premises to serve alcohol to minors in Australia.

In most states and territories, it’s also illegal to give alcohol to anyone under the age of 18 on private property, even in homes, without the young person’s parent or legal guardian’s permission.

Anyone who supplies alcohol (both adults and minors), to someone who is under 18 years of age can be charged and fined.

Find out about the laws that apply in your state or territory.

alcohol close up

Drink spiking

Drink spiking is illegal in Australia and there are serious penalties, including fines and imprisonment.

Drink spiking is often associated with a drug being added to someone’s drink. However, it’s more common for a friend or acquaintance to add alcohol - or more alcohol than expected - to someone’s drink. There can be serious physical and mental consequences of causing someone to drink more alcohol than they’re aware of.

Talk to your young person about drink spiking and highlight these points:

  • avoid sharing drinks
  • don’t accept a drink from someone you don’t know well
  • many people have their drinks spiked by someone they know; to avoid this, bring or pour your own drinks
  • keep an eye on your friends and their drinks.

If they are ever in a situation where they think their drink has been spiked, they should:

  • ask someone they trust to help get them to a safe place
  • inform an adult at the party or management at a venue, so they can assist in finding the person responsible for drink spiking
  • if they feel unwell or have been sexually assaulted, go to the nearest hospital
  • call triple zero (000) or the nearest police station.

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