BRISBANE, Nov 18 - More than 22,000 school leavers are expected to party in Surfers Paradise during a week notorious for risky youth behaviour and arrests, with official celebrations kicking off on Saturday.
Griffith University associate professor Grant Devilly, who co-lead the world's largest study into pre-drinking (or pre-loading), said it's not true that consuming alcohol before going out helps you save money.
"If people are drunk they actually end up spending more on drinks and not realising it," he said.
Griffith University School of Medicine Professor Harry McConnell warned binge drinking and drugs impair decision-making, which can lead to risky choices such as hopping balconies at great heights.
"There's a huge number of new drugs every year at Schoolies in particular designer drugs from overseas," McConnell said.
"You aren't sure what you are taking a lot of the time."
McConnell said drugs like ice make people aggressive and the "nicest person in the world could change within minutes".
Emergency services and volunteers are gearing up to control any dangerous Schoolies activity along the Glitter Strip on Saturday night.
Queensland Crime Stoppers chief executive officer Trevor O'Hara said hundreds had collected their official wristbands proving they are a "legitimate" school leaver.
O'Hara, who heads up the Schoolies Support Team volunteers, said services were available as a non-judgemental point of call to help school leavers get home safe.
Anneliese McConnell, who attended Schoolies last year, said the services made her feel "safe".
"They were helpful, just knowing they were there," she said.