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Make ‘Schoolies’ activities safe celebrations.

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THE HON CHRISTOPHER PYNE MP Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Ageing

Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600 • Telephone: (02) 6277 4842 Facsimile: (02) 6277 8581

18 November 2006 CP78/06

Make ‘Schoolies’ activities safe celebrations

End-of-school-year activities were important rites of passage for many young Australians, and it was important that people enjoyed them safely, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Ageing, Christopher Pyne, said today in the lead-up to Schoolies Week around Australia.

“Schoolies activities help to mark the end of Year 12 for many school-leavers, and it’s fitting that young people will want to celebrate their achievements after a year of study and weeks of exams,” Mr Pyne said.

“However, it is also a time when young people may be exposed to unsafe drinking, illicit drugs, and risky behaviour such as drink-driving, drink spiking and unprotected sex.

“There are a few basic things that schoolies can do to help make their celebrations safer. These include drinking responsibly, looking after your friends, not taking illicit drugs and keeping an eye on your drink to prevent the potentially disastrous consequences of drink spiking.”

Mr Pyne said parents also had an important role to play in helping young people to understand the risks associated with drug use and in encouraging them to take responsibility for their actions.

“It’s important for parents to stay connected to their children during Schoolies Week activities and to openly discuss the risks of taking drugs, particularly with current concerns around methamphetamines such as ice,” he said.

The Australian Government’s National Drugs Campaign offers a range of resources to provide parents with information about a variety of drugs, their effects, and the potential consequences of drug use on individuals and families.

“To help ensure that the community has information, the National Drugs Campaign is distributing booklets through schools and community bodies involved in Schoolies Week,” Mr Pyne said.

“All of us - parents, young people, the community and governments - need to work together to make Schoolies celebrations in 2006 a time that’s remembered for all the right reasons - a fun and relaxing time that is, above all, safe.”

More information on alcohol and the Australian Government’s National Drugs Campaign can be found at the following websites: ; , or by phoning 1800 250 015.

Media contact: Adam Howard 0400 414 833