Drink-spike kits to help girls
JESSICA LAWRENCE and PAUL WESTON
SCHOOLIES are to be given extra protection against drink-spiking.
About 200 Grade 12 girls will be given special kits that can detect whether a drink has been laced with drugs.
Youth workers are hoping the kits – which detect the presence of GHB (gamma hydroxybutyrate) and ketamine – will protect female schoolies from sexual assault and unwanted advances.
South Burnett-based youth group CTC will give the kits to senior students from Kingaroy, Murgon and Nanango before they head to the Gold Coast next week.
A report released this week by the Australian Institute of Criminology found between 3000 and 4000 drinks were spiked in Australia in one year, with four out of five victims women.
The report, commissioned by the Ministerial Council on Drug Strategy and believed to be the largest ever into the ramifications of drink-spiking, found between 20 and 30 per cent of incidents involved sexual assault, with women under 24 most at risk.
CTC youth worker Ros Heit said the group launched the project after drink-spiking was identified as a "major concern" at schoolies.
"We are particularly concerned for our young country people, some of whom are quite unworldly," she said.
Ms Heit said most local girls were keen to use the kits.
However, Drug and Alcohol Foundation chief executive Bob Aldred said schoolies needed to be aware the kits weren't "fool-proof".
"These kits will not pick up everything, but their advantage is that those who use them are less likely to become a victim of drink-spiking because they're more cautious," he said.
"The only way to really protect yourself is to pour your own drinks, not accept drinks from other people, not leave them unattended and to keep drinks covered with your hand at all times."