26 September 2023

Safety campaigns to save school leavers

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The Western Australia Police Force and the Department of Health have combined for two new social media campaigns to help keep young people safe at the annual school Leavers week.

The campaigns speak directly to Leavers about issues such as alcohol, drugs, consent, the ‘buddy system’, staying hydrated and being sun smart and what to do if they feel unwell or unsafe.

Minister for Mental Health, Stephen Dawson said alcohol was the main drug of concern, contributing to the majority of presentations to medical services at previous Leavers events, and far exceeding presentations for other drugs.

Mr Dawson said the Alcohol.Think Again campaign and the Drug Aware Party Smarter campaign, to run until the end of the month, would target 16, 17 and 18-year-old Leavers through digital channels and in-venue messaging.

He said Leavers WA events were alcohol, drug and smoke-free, however, evidence showed that some young people still used alcohol and other drugs.

“Reducing the harm that can be caused by alcohol and other drugs is the major focus of Government Agencies that are supporting this year’s Leavers events,” Mr Dawson said.

“While the safest choice is to not drink or use drugs, harm minimisation strategies are key components of all event-management plans.”

The Minister said the State’s Year 12 students had worked hard and come through a tough year “and we want them to have the best Leavers experience possible”.

“Our priority is helping to keep them safe,” he said.

“Parents also have such an important role to play in supporting their teens to reduce their risk of harm.

“It’s important to talk to your teenager openly about alcohol and drugs, including discussing your expectations and supporting them to make plans for different scenarios,” Mr Dawson said.

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