Staying safe when going out
Look after yourself and your friends!
It's normal to want to go out and have fun.
A night out to party could mean:
- getting together with friends to hang out
- going to a private party at someone's house
- going to a pub or club, or to a music event.
If you’re under 18, the safest choice is not to drink any alcohol.
There is building evidence that drinking alcohol is harmful to the developing brain, particularly to the area of the brain that is responsible for rational thinking.
Damage to this part of the brain during its development can lead to learning difficulties, memory problems, and the risk of mental health problems.
There may also be an association with other problems later in life such as alcohol dependence.1
Concerns about the risks of alcohol for young people led to the National Health and Medical Research Council (external site) recommending that, “For young people under 18 years of age, no alcohol is the safest choice. Delaying drinking alcohol as long as possible is also recommended.”2
However, sometimes people choose to drink alcohol anyway.
If you or your friends do choose to drink alcohol, there are some things you can do to minimise the potential harms you might experience.
Thinking about how you will respond if you or your friends run into trouble will help you to reduce the risk of anyone coming to harm if things don't go as planned.
Where to get help
- Call one of the Alcohol and Drug Support Service's 24 hour support lines (external site) – providing confidential counselling, information, advice and referral.
- For emergency or life-threatening conditions, visit an emergency department or dial triple zero (000) to call an ambulance. Police are not called unless a death has occurred or ambulance officers are threatened.
- See your doctor.
- Visit a GP after hours.
- Ring healthdirect on 1800 022 222.
- Things can still go wrong even when you plan your night. Knowing what to look for and how to respond can save a life.
- If someone becomes unwell or collapses it is important to treat it as an emergency and get help – call 000 immediately. Remember police are not required to attend unless a death has occurred or the ambulance officers are threatened.
- The Australian Guidelines to Reduce Health Risks from Drinking Alcohol recommends that for children and young people under 18, not drinking alcohol is the safest choice.
- Hingson R, Heeren T, Winter M. Age of Alcohol-Dependence Onset: Associations with Severity of Dependence and Seeking Treatment. Pediatrics 2006; 118(3):755-763.
- National Health and Medical Research Council. Australian guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol. Commonwealth of Australia. [online] 2009 [cited 2013 March 8]. See the National Health and Medical Research Council (external site).
This information provided by
Drug and Alcohol Office
This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.