As a teenager it’s probably highly likely that you’ll come into contact with alcohol and drugs. As well as being illegal, drugs and underage drinking make you vulnerable when it comes to sex. This means that you’re more likely to take risks that you normally wouldn’t take if you were sober.

Alcohol and drugs impair your judgement and make you more likely to engage in unsafe sex. Aside from putting yourself at risk of STIs and pregnancy, you can also put yourself in an exposed, defenceless situation, which can be a real issue if you don’t want to have sex with someone.

There are also a heap of other risks associated with taking drugs and alcohol. These include:

  • Drink driving and road accidents
  • Fights
  • Criminal activity

And then there are the hangovers, vomiting, head spins and passing out which all come with drinking too much and taking drugs. So, given all the risks and downsides it is better to avoid drugs and alcohol altogether.

Using drugs and alcohol safely

Of course the safest thing is not to use alcohol and drugs! But, if you choose to do it, here are some general tips to keep safe:

It is your choice, not someone else’s! Don’t feel pressured into drinking or using anything.

Find out about it first. Do some research and know what the effects are likely to be.

Never share injecting equipment with anyone.

Never try to drive or operate machinery after taking a drug or drinking.

Don’t be pressured into drinking more or taking more of a drug because others are doing it. If you feel you’ve had enough, just stop.

If someone collapses, get help urgently – call an ambulance. Give the ambulance staff or doctors honest information about any drugs or alcohol taken.

Saying no

Peer pressure means it can sometimes be hard to say no to drugs and alcohol. Here are four tips to help you:

Stay away from places where you know drugs and alcohol will be.

Be assertive and just say no. You have every right to.

If ‘no’ is too hard to say, try the following:

“Cheers, but not for me thanks”

“I’m cutting back”

“I can’t tonight, I’ve got a big day ahead tomorrow”

Work out the things that give you a natural good feeling and do them instead.

More info

If you want to talk to someone about drugs and alcohol, or you or someone you know has a drug or alcohol problem, check out our Help & Advice page for a list of contacts you can talk to.

To find out more info on drugs and alcohol, check out the following websites:

Where’s Your Head At

Find out the facts about drugs and alcohol and meet a stack of young people who are clear-headed and clear of illegal drugs. Also included is a list of information and support services if you want to find out about drugs and alcohol or if you or a friend are looking for help and support. www.drugs.health.gov.au/internet/drugs/publishing.nsf/Content/youth-home

OxyGen

A website dedicated to informing you about tobacco and its use in Australia. The information on OxyGen allows you to explore all the facts about smoking and the tobacco industry.
www.oxygen.org.au