Alcohol is produced by fermenting substances – grain (beer, whisky), fruit (wine,
cider), potatoes (vodka).
It is a depressant and acts to slow down the brain and nervous system
It is the most widely used drug in Australia.
Alcohol related deaths make up 62% of all drug-related deaths among people aged
15 to 34 years.
Alcohol related injuries due to falls, fights and car crashes are also high among
Alcohol is the drug that causes the most deaths, injuries and regrettable behaviours
Alcohol and the community
About 1/3 of all people killed on Australia’s roads each year have been drinking
Over 70% pf prisoners convicted of violent assaults in Australia have drunk alcohol
before committing the offence.
Over 40% of domestic violence incidents involve alcohol.
Each week 60 Australians are dying from the effects of alcohol.
The annual cost of health care for alcohol related illness and problems is $15billion.
Alcohol and your health
A moderate amount of alcohol does not harm most people. Excessive drinking
above recommended levels, on a regular basis, can cause health problems.
Your age, weight, sex, body chemistry, fitness, use of medicines and other drugs,
and whether you have food in your stomach affect your body’s reaction to alcohol.
Generally, men can drink more than women before reaching the same blood
alcohol level. Women’s bodies are less able to break down alcohol due to body
weight, the amount of body fat and water in the body, and the size of a woman’s
Guidelines for low risk drinking
Guideline 1: Reducing the risk of alcohol-related harm over a lifetime
For healthy men and women, drinking no more than two standard drinks on any day.
Guideline 2: Reducing the risk of injury on a single occasion of drinking
For health men and women, drinking no more than four standard drinks on a single
Guideline 3: Children and young people under 18 years of age
A. Parents and carers should be advised that children under 15 years of age are at the
greatest risk age group, not drinking alcohol is especially important.
B. For young people aged 15-17years, the safest option is to delay the initiation of
Guideline 4: Pregnancy and breastfeeding
A. For women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, not drinking is the safest
B. For women who are breastfeeding, not drinking is the safest option.
A standard drink contains 10 grams of alcohol.
A pint of light beer (425ml)
A schooner of regular beer (285ml)
A small glass of wine (100ml)
A glass of fortified wine – port or sherry (60ml)
A nip of spirits or liqueurs (30ml)
How you can minimize the risk if driving
Develop your personal rule of thumb so you know how many standard drinks you
can have while remaining safely within the limit.
Check the standard drink label on the bottle or can from which you are drinking.
Check the number of standard drinks contained in the glass from which you are
Drink slowly and alternate your drinks with non-alcoholic drinks.
Have something to eat when you are drinking
Always finish your glass before filling up again. This will help you keep count of your
Drink light beer rather than full-strength beer if you expect to be driving.
Never drink mixed drinks like cocktails if you are driving because you often cannot
tell how much alcohol they contain.
Before driving wait at least one hour for each standard drink.
The only way to be certain of staying under 0.05BAC is not to drink any alcohol at
all if you are planning to drive.
If you know you will be drinking, consider your options:
1. Get a ride with someone who will not be drinking.
2. Appoint a designated driver (someone who will not be drinking).
3. Get a taxi (or public transport) home.
4. Stay overnight.
5. Arrange for someone to come and get you.