It’s that time of year when the final Higher School Certificate (HSC) exam has been sat and students from across the country plan their escape.
School-leavers usually flock to the Gold Coast for the annual Schoolies Week, a week of beaches, partying and making headlines in Queensland.
It’s long been the preferred location for an end-of-year wind down party, although others choose to spend their last months before going to university or work travelling or a mini holiday closer to home.
And with the pilgrimage north seems to arise the same issues, underage drinking or excessive alcohol consumption and drug use.
Many of those who attend Schoolies, in an official or unofficial capacity, are under 17 years of age, so under the country’s legal drinking age.
But this year a more prevalent threat seems to have risen and police and authorities are baffled as to how to fight it in such large numbers.
News outlets have reported that attendees are frequently using drugs or taking pills because they are cheap and easy to access.
It’s alarming that those who are so young are willing to put unknown substances, illegal substances, into their bodies in the name of a good time. Or worse, simply because all their friends are doing it.
What’s the point in going on a vacation to make lasting memories of finishing school when you end up with very little recollection of your actions because of banned substances?
We are not the fun police. We are not saying forfeit all types of enjoyment. But there’s a time to have fun and a time to be sensible and a time for both.
And when you’re crammed into small, hot venues with others that are affected by drugs and alcohol, that’s the time for both.
Keep an eye out for your mates if you are away or plan on taking a trip.
Despite what social media and pop culture might try and tell you, it is acceptable to have fun while drinking within reason and not taking drugs.
Make sure those memories you’re making don’t end with a trip to the hospital or jail.