It is important to tell your children that if they are in doubt, they should not hesitate to call for medical assistance. It’s hard to be too specific here as it’s not always easy to say what constitutes a ‘medical emergency’. Young people need to know that they won’t get in trouble for calling an ambulance. Even if the ambulance arrives and the situation has resolved itself, it’s better to be safe then sorry. They also need to know that as a general rule, the police will not attend a medical emergency involving alcohol or other drugs unless another crime, such as violence, has taken place.

Dialling 000 can be a daunting experience. Running through making a 000 call with your teenagers can be useful, just in case.

When you call 000 the operator will ask whether you need the police, fire or ambulance service. Depending on the type of phone you are calling from, you may also be asked to provide details of the state and town you are calling from.

The person calling needs to remain calm, and not hang up until the operator has obtained all the required information. There may be some additional questions asked or instructions given, depending on the situation.

One important message that we do not emphasise enough to our children is that they need to know the address of where they are partying. If something goes wrong, the 000 operator will need a location. One really useful tip is to get your child into the habit of taking the address of the party they are attending on a slip of paper just in case. Start this early and you’re unlikely to encounter much resistance.

Writer Paul Dillon, Generation Next speaker and drug and alcohol expert. Excerpt from “Teenagers, Alcohol and Drugs”. Editor Dr Ramesh Manocha.