Schoolies is coming. Here's how to talk to your kids about drugs.

Anthea Anagnostou was 18 years old the first time she tried the drug ice.

She had just finished year 12 and was celebrating on schoolies in Rosebud with her friends when she accepted an offer from an older girl to try crystallised methamphetamine. She stayed awake for four days. She was hooked.

Five years on, Anthea is still battling the drug and has appeared on A Current Affair this week with her mother Elizabeth to talk about the dangers of ice.

“I had it for the first time (at Schoolies) and probably had the best time of my life if I was to be perfectly honest – unfortunately. And then I just kept chasing that high,” she told reporter Laura Turner.

“To be honest, I didn’t even go to the beach for the week I was there. I didn’t even have an experience like you’d think I was having.”

(Image via A Current Affair.)

"You end up with nothing. I lost a lot of people that I love and care about."

Her mum told the Channel Nine program that she feels like she has "lost" her daughter, who she remains dedicated to helping despite her daughter's reckless behaviour while on drugs, such as stealing from her.

"You come home and you find everything missing - money, three cars... the drug dealers, it just doesn't end.

"Nobody understands my pain. Unless you're going through it... It's hard, it's been hard," Elizabeth said.

"I lost her a long time ago. I grieve my daughter every day. I lost her."

It's a terrifying scenario, one that reads like the nightmare of parents of teens who are about to head off to their own end-of-school celebrations in about a month's time.

Parents who might be thinking right now, 'How the hell do I stop this from happening to my child?' Well, you can't be there to hold their hand or make decisions for them, but you can make an impact.

Be a good role model

You need to be able to walk the talk, so don't contradict any of the messages you tell your kids about drugs or alcohol. Act on what you preach.

This advice comes from 'Illegal Drugs: What you need to know' - a guide for parents produced by the Australian government and developed by experts. It contains a wealth of advice for parents, including advice on how to speak to children and teens about drugs.

Be involved in their lives

As kids get older it can easily start to feel like you're leading separate lives. The guide recommends you have routines in place that allow you to check in on your children every day, such as at breakfast or dinner.

"Be sure to regularly spend time with your child where you can give them your undivided attention. Get involved and show an interest in their hobbies and activities.


"It is natural to want to help your child choose the right friends and to get to know them. Invite them to your house, or talk to them if you pick your child up from school or after-school activities. Get to know their parents as well, as they can provide a support network to look out for the safety of your children."

Listen: The This Glorious Mess team discuss schoolies. (Post continues after audio...)

When it comes to approaching the topic of drugs with your children, these tips from Partnership for Drug-Free Kids can help...

Choose a good time and place: Driving home from school or to an activity can be perfect because less eye contact can make your child feel more comfortable.

Arm yourself with knowledge: Know all you can about the topic. 'Illegal Drugs: What you need to know' is a great place to start.

Discuss the negative effects of drugs and alcohol: You may assume they've heard it all at school, but don't assume they paid attention. Talk about the short and long-term effects.

Use "teachable moments": Whether it's while watching the evening news or a cop-procedural, use these as jump-off points to talk about drugs. But think discussion rather than lecture.

Keep the conversation open: If you're raising concerns, or asking them about their experiences, try to keep your questions open-ended (to avoid yes or no replies) and your responses calm and curious rather than judgemental or angry.

And whether you get shut down or have a great discussion, keep the lines of communication open and just keep talking.

Do you worry about the culture of drugs on Schoolies? Let us know in the comments...