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Leavers is a four-day celebratory period that marks the completion of Year 12. It is an exciting time for teenagers as they celebrate completing their schooling, and moving into a new phase of their life.

Whilst Leavers can be an exciting time for teenagers, they may experience situations they have not been in before. Leavers activities are alcohol, tobacco and drug-free, however there is a good chance that teenagers will find themselves in environments where alcohol is being consumed and potentially situations where people are using drugs.  

Research indicates many young people attending Leavers are more likely to use MDMA than they were at their previous social events.[1] Young people who attend Leavers also expect to consume excessive amounts of alcohol and engage in other risky behaviours which increases their risk of experiencing alcohol and other drug-related harms[2, 3] such as:[1]

  • blacking out;
  • unprotected sex or sex they later regretted;
  • vomiting;
  • being physically aggressive or having a heated argument;
  • accident or injury; and/or
  • being hungover.


Tips on how to party smarter

Not using alcohol or other drugs is the safest choice for young people attending Leavers and is the best way to make sure young people have a good time.

If young people do choose to use alcohol and other drugs, there are a number of  strategies that can help reduce their risk of harm – and research shows they do use them![1] The below information provides the latest evidence on the best strategies to help young people enjoy their time at Leavers.


Last updated: September 2021

  1. Lam, T., et al., Alcohol and other drug use at school leavers' celebrations. J Public Health (Oxf), 2014. 36(3): p. 408-16.
  2. Pettigrew, S., et al., Understanding and addressing the Schoolies phenomenon. Australian and New Zealand journal of public health, 2015. 39.
  3. Lubman, D.I., et al., High rates of alcohol consumption and related harm at schoolies week: a portal study. Aust N Z J Public Health, 2014. 38(6): p. 536-41.

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