With the end of the high school term and the schoolies season just around the corner, young people and risk taking behaviours are current and immensely important topics of discussion.
Each year, Drug ARM Australasia conducts the Schoolies Research Project which aims to identify patterns of drug use and risk-taking behaviour among those attending Schoolies Week on the Gold Coast. In 2012, 1500 young people participated in the research. When participants were asked about their behaviour since they had been at Schoolies Week:
- 75.2% reported having been drunk;
- 41.1% reported having had a hangover;
- 26.4% reported having vomited;
- 20.5% reported having passed out; and
- 24.6% reported having have been injured due to excessive consumption of alcohol.
“Alcohol does continue to be the main ‘drug of choice’ for Schoolies,” said Professor Jake Najman, Deputy Chair of Drug ARM, and Director of Queensland Alcohol and Drug Research and Education Centre and Professor of Sociology, University of Queensland.
“Schoolies’ risk-taking behaviours have remained relatively stable over time,” Prof. Najman said.
“Schoolies is a rite of passage, which is normal in many cultures, not the drinking but the idea that people mark life milestones with ceremonies, and our main concern is that it (schoolies) can go wrong for some people,” he added.
It is important here to acknowledge the positive work that is done by the Gold Coast Schoolies Community Safety Response – a partnership of Queensland government agencies and community organisations including Drug ARM and Local Council. There is an abundance of support services for the young people attending Schoolies at Surfers Paradise and Drug ARM continues to provide a Schoolies recharge zone to increase safety and reduce harms for young people as well as others.
Drug ARM has been delivering Schoolies responses and research activities for over 14 years.
A specialist, non-government alcohol and other drug agency, Drug ARM is committed to reducing harms associated with alcohol and other drug use, and has been providing quality alcohol and other drug related information, awareness, prevention, education, treatment, outreach and diversion services in New South Wales, South Australia, and in Queensland for over 100 years.