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Paul Dillon ReturnsPosted in College Community on Wednesday, 7 August, 2019

Paul Dillon returned to the College today to engage the Years 10, 11 and 12 student groups with a dynamic talk about alcohol and drug use. Paul is the Director and Founder of Drug and Alcohol Research and Training Australia (DARTA) and speaks to student groups and parents all over the country to educate them on the most up to date research and information on a wide range of alcohol and drug issues.

Returning to the College, having addressed our senior Secondary students previously, Paul spoke to the Year 11s today about ecstasy/MDMA, along with cannabis use, alcohol and the adolescent brain. The message was clear from the start – “It’s about keeping students safe – not about spoiling your fun.” The Year 11 student group heard how for the first time Paul is having to address the use of MDMA with school-aged young people. Previously only 1-2% of Years 11 and 12 students across the country had had who had ever experimented with ecstasy/ MDMA, but these numbers have risen significantly. Paul was visibly affected when showing photos and talking about the cases of seven young people who had died as a result of drug overdoses over the summer since he spoke to the Year 11s last. The students listened in reverent silence to the details of how things can go so terribly wrong. Paul covered the symptoms of an overdose and told the students: “The second that something goes wrong you pick up a phone and call for help. We want you to stay safe. I hope that none of the things I talk about today happen to you…” “Everything I tell you is real. It CAN HAPPEN.”

Moving on to the topic of alcohol use amongst young people, Paul recapped the key mistakes made by teens caring for a drunk friend. Dispelling some of the myths around alcohol, Paul also covered tips for how to care for someone at a party who has had too much to drink, and how to tell if someone needs emergency assistance. The murmur amongst the Year 11 cohort along with the considerable number of students performing the accompanying hand actions, confirmed that many in the group recalled Paul’s ‘Two things to do before you drink alcohol to keep you safer’ tips of ‘a fistful of food’ and ‘It’s water time!’ Paul asked students to remember this very important equation to potentially save a life – ‘Unconscious + drunk = ambulance’, reminding students to download the lifesaving Emergency+ app.

With a mixture of light-hearted humour, raw honesty, hard facts and genuine caring for young people and their wellbeing, Paul captured the students with his relevant content and warm presentation style. The College is always happy to host Paul Dillon; he returns time and time again to speak with students, catering the content to the specific concerns of each Year level and including the most current research, statistics and information available.

There is a wealth of relevant information available on the DARTA website for young people and their parents including factsheets and tips for staying safe. Click http://darta.net.au/factsheets/ for more information.

Parents have the same chance to experience this unique and valuable presentation tonight at the College. Paul will specifically be speaking with parents about understanding the concerns around their teenagers, alcohol and other drugs.

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