Know the risks; be prepared

16 Apr 2018

Paul Dillon, one of the leading drug and alcohol educators in Australasia, visited College on Tuesday 10 April, talking to boys in Years 11, 12 and 13 during the day, and to parents in the evening.

Paul’s mission in life is dedicated to the health and wellbeing of young people; to ensuring they have the tools to stay safe in environments where alcohol and drugs are present. While he says it is unrealistic to expect young people to abstain, given the information now available about brain development, Paul recommends they delay their first drink as long as possible and always be mindful of the possible consequences of overindulgence.

With the Year 13 students, Paul used humour and plenty of anecdotes drawn from experience to get his hard-hitting message across. “I’m not here to stop you doing anything. You already know if you drink to excess or take illegal drugs things can go wrong. My role is to raise awareness, help you plan ahead, know the risks and be prepared.”

He told the boys they are about to enter the most dangerous years of their lives, where leaving school and home, being of legal drinking age, being able to drive, pushing boundaries and risk-taking behaviours combine and, unfortunately, sometimes result in harm to themselves or others. Then he got down to the nitty-gritty, telling them to take responsibility, to look out for and look after their mates, what to do and what not to do when helping a drunk friend, and how to recognise and respond to a medical emergency.

Paul is the director and founder of Drug and Alcohol Research and Training Australia (DARTA). More information about his work can be found in his book Teenagers, Alcohol and Drugs, on the DARTA website, and on his blogs – for students and for parents.

Paul Dillon