A fun time can turn sour pretty quickly if something bad happens. Fights, drug problems, people being too drunk or a visit from the police can shut a party down pretty quickly.
If you're organising a party it helps to take a few precautions to ensure everyone has a good time and that you won't regret it in the morning. Even if you're just heading out for the night, it helps to know what your options are if things get out of hand.
Hosting your own party
If you're hosting a party, it's on you to make sure your party is fun and safe for your guests. If something goes wrong, you're the one who has to face the most consequences, so it's in your best interests to take steps to avoid any problems. Here's a few things to think about:
- Find out what the rules are about noise - check with your local council (new window) or police station (new window) to find out about the local noise restrictions before you let your hair down.
- Contact your neighbours about your party - advance warning can make them less likely to get cranky or call the police about the noise
- If you're having under-age guests, make sure you provide nonalcoholic drinks - and remember that it's illegal to provide alcohol to minors
- How are people getting to the party? How are they getting home? Is there space for them to crash if they need to?
- Provide nonalcoholic drinks and snacks for your guests so they can space out their alcoholic drinks
- Provide activities so people have more to do than just sit around and drink, like music to dance to, a movie to watch or a footy to kick in the back yard
- Do you need security or not - are there likely to be crashers?
- Plan for emergencies - have stuff to clean up spills and messes, and make sure you've got a few first aid items just in case
You can register your party with the Victoria Police's PartySafe program (new window), which will mean that if there's trouble, they already know where you are.
For more advice about planning parties, check out the DrugInfo Safe Partying for All Ages fact sheet (new window).
Thinking a few things through before you head out will make a night out a smoother and more enjoyable experience. Here's a few things to think about:
- Work out how you're getting home - organise transport ahead of time, like booking a taxi or nominating a designated driver
- Make sure you've got your mates' numbers on you
- Arrange a place to meet up in case you or your friends get separated
- Check on your mates' plans for the night - are you all heading to the same place and sticking together for the whole night?
- Work out how much you're going to spend for the night and make sure you've got enough to afford to get yourself home if you need it
- Make sure you've got the right ID with you - licensed venues can be strict
- If you're heading out of town with friends for a trip or a big weekend, let your family know where you’re going and how to contact you in an emergency
Look after yourself and your mates
As the night goes on things might get a little confusing. Situations and plans can change - it's good to make sure everyone knows what's happening.
In general you should trust your instincts - if you don't feel safe you probably aren't, so get your mates together and find somewhere else to go.
Don’t leave your mates on their own or head off without letting them know where you're going. If you aren't sure where someone's got to, try giving them a call or a text. If you can't contact them by phone, chances are they'll turn up safe and well within a few hours. If they don't turn up in a reasonable timeframe and you think something's wrong, contact the police by calling 000.
If you can't catch up with your friends at a prearranged time or you've decided you're not coming home, let someone know. If it's late and you don't want to wake them, send a text.
If you or a friend is injured (e.g., an accident with broken glass), report the injury to bar staff or the venue manager. Apply first aid immediately. If it's more serious, go to a doctor or hospital and make sure someone stays with the person who's hurt.
If things go wrong
It's a good idea to know what do to if something does end up going wrong when you're at a party or out on the town. For some advice on potential trouble and what to do if it arises, check out our Parties - What Could Go Wrong? page.
The only way to sober up is to give your body time to process the alcohol you've consumed. It takes a healthy liver approximately one hour to process three-quarters of a standard drink. This can vary according to your size, gender and general health.
- If you drink 10 pots of beer it will take at least 10 hours for the alcohol to leave your system
- If you drink 2 glasses of wine (200ml) it will be at least 2 hours before the alcohol leaves your system
Despite anything you may have heard before, the following activities have no effect in reducing the level of alcohol in a person's body:
- Drinking coffee
- Taking a shower
- Going for a swim
Your blood alcohol level can continue to rise for three hours after your last drink. Your body simply needs time to recover.
Remember that anyone driving on a Learner or Probationary (red P1 and green P2) licence is required to have a blood alcohol concentration of zero.
If you're a learner, the fully licensed person sitting next to you, supervising your driving, must also have a blood alcohol concentration of zero.
DrugInfo - Safe Partying for All Ages
Links to info to help you to have fun in a safe, legal and responsible way.
Teen Drinking Law
Information on Victorian laws about alcohol.
Say When has lots of simple tools for staying in control of your drinking, including a drink check chart, a drink calculator and tools to monitor your own drinking profile.
Reach Out! - What to do in an emergency
Excellent information describing what to do in an emergency situation, including drug overdoses, self-harm, and if someone goes missing.
Victoria Police - Emergency assistance
Information about emergency assistance, what happens when you call 000, what happens when you're connected to Victoria Police, and when not to call 000.