Schoolies: Twice as many girls treated for drunkenness

FEMALE Schoolies are twice as a likely as men to require medical attention for intoxication paramedics on the Gold Coast have revealed.

QAS Senior Operations Supervisor Justin Payne said paramedics treated about 60 Schoolies on Saturday and about 95 on Sunday night at the medical tent set up at Surfers Paradise.

"Our numbers so far have been fairly similar to the previous years ... We're actually finding that there's actually still a large amount of intoxicatio n occurring within the Schoolies precinct, but that's generally what we expect to see.

"Interestingly we've noticed that on both evenings so far that the number of female patients that we've had have doubled the number of male patients, which is a little bit concerning," he said.

Mr Payne said he believed the larger number of female patients was because the teens were unfamiliar with their own limits.

"I still feel it's just a social situation that these school leavers are placing themselves in, in that they are indulging in these substances for the first time in a lot of cases and I think it's just not knowing their limits at this time.

Shania Townsend (left, black top hand in the air) and Amy O'Reilly from Casino wander through the 2017 schoolies festival crowd. Picture AAP/David Clark
Shania Townsend (left, black top hand in the air) and Amy O'Reilly from Casino wander through the 2017 schoolies festival crowd. Picture AAP/David Clark

"We are actually seeing that in a lot of the situations there still is actually a sober friend with these kids so really they are getting the message to be safe and watch your mates," he said.

Mr Payne said the majority of patients treated for the effects of illegal drugs had consumed MDMA.

"The drugs are a wide range ... probably the most common that we're dealing with is MDMA," he said.

He said most of the Schoolies treated for injuries were as a result of trips and sprains.

"The majority of our cases were accident based, there was a very small number of injuries that were alleged assaults. All that information if the school leavers requested was passed onto police for them to deal with," he said.

Inspector Bruce Kuhn said police are "very impressed" with the behaviour of the Schoolies cohort so far.

"I think the demographics, as I've said before, have changed a little bit and I don't think the young people these days have the intensity that they did a few years ago which is just fantastic," he said.

Last night Queensland police arrested 13 schoolies on 16 offences, seven of which were for drug possession.

"We won't tolerate anything to do with drugs and that makes up the majority of the offences we've detected but as far as behaviour goes the young adults have been fantastic and we've got no concerns at this stage.

"It's mainly possession and they are relatively minor offences in the big scheme of things but they are drug offences and we just won't tolerate that," Insp Kuhn said.

He said the types of drugs found on the teens varied.

"It's just a range of the drugs that are out there today and I guess it's no different to the late 60s when there was a range back then.

"So we just have to detect what we can and prevent those from getting to the young adults to the event," he said.

Police also issued eleven schoolies with liquor infringement notices on Sunday night.

Insp Kuhn said the non-school leavers, known as "Toolies" have not been a big issue for police so far.

Police made a number of arrests before midnight. Picture AAP/David Clark
Police made a number of arrests before midnight. Picture AAP/David Clark

"The offences that we have detected aren't that different to a normal weekend in Surfers Paradise, so considering the influx of young people during this event, we're pretty happy with how it's going so far," he said.

Police arrested ten non-schoolies on 12 charges, mostly relating to public nuisance and drug possession.

Insp Kuhn said police had no received any reports of Schoolies selling their wristbands to Toolies.

"(With) 22,000 people here I'm sure they're not all angels and I'm sure some of them will show their entrepreneurial skills and hopefully put it to better use in the future.

"Our response during the schoolies is to particularly look after the young people, there's security here, there's the Red Frogs, there's a range of police responses here so I think there's a pretty good model here to address any concerns we have for the young people regardless of what that may be," he said.


Topless Schoolies, Surfers Paradise 2017.
Topless Schoolies, Surfers Paradise 2017.


Chairman of the Schoolies advisory group Mark Reaburn said organisers receive anecdotal reports of wristbands being sold to non-school leavers "every year".

"There's no great surprise in that.

"Some kids might think they're entrepreneurs but you will see as the kids go into the hub they are required to life their right arm and that's where the wristbands are placed.

"If the kids have superglued or stapled, one tug on that ... and where we've had issues relating to wristbands being allegedly black marketed for want of a better word, if the kids are caught, or a wristband pops (off) they'll be thrown out," he said.

Mr Reaburn said organisers have issued 16,567 wristbands so far, which is on par with last years' attendance rates.

"There were some weather issues yesterday but nothing that really impedes on the enthusiasm of the kids."

Mr Reaburn said it was not "logistically possible" to record the names of every Schoolie given a wristband to mitigate potential fraudulent activity.

"If it was a 1000 kids (selling wristbands) potentially yes, but it's not fair to the kids to have them wait for two or three hours while we check every detail," he said.

"Inevitably when you have this many people, whether they're schoolies or non schoolies, there will be issues.

"If you want to be a fool, if you want to get arrested, if you want to break the law with the police presence that are here you can almost guarantee success when you come to schoolies," Mr Reaburn said.

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