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Alcohol & Your Health

Ongoing and regular alcohol consumption can lead to the damage of multiple organs. The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) recommend no more than two standard drinks per day to reduce your risk of organ damage.

In March 2009, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) released the Australian Guidelines to Reduce Health Risks from Drinking Alcohol. The 2009 Guidelines focus on health risks accumulating over a lifetime from alcohol use.

There is no level of drinking that can be guaranteed to be completely safe. To help you reduce health risks from drinking alcohol the Guidelines provide four recommendations. The Guidelines can help you make informed choices and help keep your risk of alcohol-related accidents, injuries, diseases and death, low - both in the short and long-term.1

Short-term harm is what may occur as a result of one (single) drinking occasion.

Long-term harm is what may occur as a result of regular and ongoing periods of drinking (lifetime risk).

Australian Guidelines to Reduce Health Risks from Drinking Alcohol1

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 reduces the lifetime risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury.

GUIDELINE 2 - REDUCING THE RISK OF INJURY ON A SINGLE OCCASION OF DRINKING
For healthy men and women, drinking no more than four standard drinks on a single occasion reduces the risk of alcohol-related injury arising from that occasion.

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 of harm from drinking and that for this age group, not drinking alcohol is especially important.

B. For young people aged 15 to 17 years, the safest option is to delay the initiation of drinking for as long as possible.

GUIDELINE 4 - PREGNANCY & BREASTFEEDING
A. For women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, not drinking is the safest option.

B. For women who are breastfeeding not drinking is the safest option.

 
References

1 National Health and Medical Research Council. (2009). Australian guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol: Commonwealth of Australia. Available at http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/guidelines/publications/ds10

In this section
What is a Standard Drink?

In Australia, a standard drink is any drink containing 10 grams of alcohol, regardless of container size or alcohol type (e.g beer, wine, spirit).

Risk Assessment Tool

Assess if your drinking habits are putting you at risk.

Alcohol and Your Long-Term Health

Regular drinking can cause long term damage to the body. Alcohol can increse the risk of cancer, liver disease, cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Alcohol During Pregnancy

Alcohol can affect the growth of the baby in pregnancy. For women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning a pregnancy, not drinking is the safest option.

Alcohol and Short-Term Harm

Short term harm is what may occur as a result of one (single) drinking occasion. With every drink, the risk of accidents and/or injury increases.

The Festive Season

The Christmas and New Year period has an increase in parties, gatherings and functions. The festive season is a good time to reflect on our drinking culture.

Strong Spirit Strong Mind

Strong Spirit Strong Mind promotes the uniqueness of Aboriginal culture as a central strength in guiding efforts to reduce alcohol and other drug-related harm.