STUDENT VOLUNTEERS: Zane Gillespie, Tyler Rees, Katelyn McLean, Matilda Larkins, Layla Mackenzie, Drew McCullogh, Sam Silinzieds and Renee Ng.
STUDENT VOLUNTEERS: Zane Gillespie, Tyler Rees, Katelyn McLean, Matilda Larkins, Layla Mackenzie, Drew McCullogh, Sam Silinzieds and Renee Ng. Alina Rylko

Tweed students reduce their drug and alcohol risk

JUST in time for Schoolies, Year 11 pupils attended a seminar on drug, alcohol and driving safety at Murwillumbah last week.

Organised by NSW Health and Southern Cross University, the region’s state school pupils watched film clips on driving safety and heard from speaker Paul Dillon from Drug and Alcohol Research Australia.

Mr Dillon - with 30 years experience in the field - said this generation was less likely to use illicit drugs and alcohol but most would be exposed to it.

“If we look at this age group, what we know is this is a generation of young people who are less likely to use illicit drugs than previous generations.

“And we actually know that we have more non-drinkers than we’ve ever had there - so there’s some real positive stuff.

“But those kids that do drink and those kids who do take drugs are most probably are drinking at a more dangerous way, and are in particular, more spirit drinkers.

“Because most of them at this age are going to be at the very least, exposed to drink, my message is about how to keep it as safe as possible and look after the friends if something goes wrong,” he said.

Mr Dillon busted common myths about overdosing to teach teens how to avoid lethal outcomes in dangerous situations.

“I try to see how do young people actually look after drunk people, and pretty well everything they do is wrong and doesn’t work and potentially some things can kill,” he said.

Pupils were told not to put a friend under a cold shower and not to give a friend too much water if they had overdosed.

“Feeding them bread is pretty much the most dangerous thing you can do to a drunk person, it chokes them to death.

“Water is another dangerous thing, it can actually kill a drunk person through water intoxication.

“When you’re intoxicated your body stops metabolising things, you can’t walk, you can’t talk, you can’t sweat or urinate.

“And if you keep forcing someone to drink a lot of water when they’re drunk, they can potentially die.”

“It’s about knowing when your friend is in trouble,” Mr Dillon said.

The drug counsellor told teens if a friend overdoses “you don’t wait” - an ambulance needs to be called for help straight away.

In the area of cannabis use, Mr Dillon flagged warning signs to flag if a person was in danger of serious mental health problems.

“The best example with cannabis is if someone is paranoid and acting strangely, even in the days when they’re not stoned, they’re still thinking people are following them or speaking to them.

“If you hear a friend say ‘when I smoke it’s the only time I feel normal’, then that means it’s become a dangerous situation and you really need to find someone to actually say: this person needs help.”



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