Showing posts from January, 2019

Starting high school: Why the first 3 months are so important and can impact on future alcohol and other drug use

I still remember my first day of high school - it was horrible! I had attended a state primary school and my parents, like many others, made the decision to move me to the private system for my secondary schooling. It was a major financial sacrifice for my parents back then and they did it for all the right reasons, but it was tough! Apart from the move from a co-ed environment to a boys-only school being difficult (sport certainly wasn't my thing!), it was made even harder because I knew absolutely no-one. Many of the boys had come from 'feeder' primary schools and entered the year with established friendships - I was completely alone! I wouldn't wish my first few years at high school on anyone ... It's important to acknowledge that it is now rare for children to be just thrown into high school and left to fend for themselves, with most schools developing and implementing programs to ensure that no-one 'slips through the cracks' during this difficult ti

Teenage parties - when things go wrong: A police officer's perspective

Teen parties are important events for young people to attend - that's where they learn how to socialize in a different way than they do at school. I have a great deal of admiration for those parents who make the decision to hold a party at their home. These events aren't easy to organise, particularly if you want to ensure those attending have a great time, they are all kept as safe as possible and your house and its contents are all in one piece at the end of the night. I am regularly contacted by parents who have held a party who are desperate to tell me how well things went and how proud they were of their own teen and their friends - things seemingly went without any problems and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. That said, these parents usually had put a great deal of effort into planning and, apart from the 18th birthday parties, were almost always 'alcohol free'. I have said this many times, but it is important to acknowledge that we see hundreds of teen p

5 things your teen needs to know that may cause an L or P plater to fail a breathalyzer even if they haven't been drinking alcohol

No matter your age, your driving experience or how sober you are, that feeling of being flagged over by a police officer for a random breath test (RBT) is never pleasant. You may not have had a drink for days but as you're blowing or talking into that little machine, for many people there's still that fear that something could go wrong … Speaking to young drivers across the country, that first time that they're pulled over and asked to do the test can even be more scary. They may have watched the TV show RBT many times or been sitting in the car when one of their parents has been tested and know how the process works, but experiencing it for themselves for the first time can be quite confronting. What is so important for L and P platers (who must have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.00) to know is that there are so many things that could cause them to fail a breathalyzer even if they haven't been drinking alcohol … Over the years I've been contacted b

Why vague warnings about 'extremely dangerous orange pills' don't work and can actually be counterproductive

Firstly, my heart goes out to the five families and their friends who have lost their loved ones at music festivals over the past couple of months. It's important to remember that behind every headline and news story written about these tragic deaths there are people who are dealing with a terrible loss … Earlier this week we saw a warning issued by promoters of events, police and health authorities about "an extremely dangerous orange pill" that was currently available. The Daily Mail went one step further taking information disseminated by DanceWize NSW and warned about a "psychotic 'yellow drug'" that could also be possibly linked to the death of a young man. I'm not too sure who issued the original warning but it appears to have been linked to an incident at the NSW Lost Paradise Festival where the media reported a death had occurred after taking an "unknown substance" . This is how it read: "SERIOUS DRUG ALERT: There is an