Australian Alcohol Guidelines
Australian guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol
The current National Health and Medical Research Council Australian Guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking (2009) aim to help you make an informed choice about your alcohol use to reduce the risk of alcohol-related harm. The Guidelines are based on research from Australia and around the world on the effects of alcohol.
GUIDELINE 1. Reducing the risk of alcohol-related harm over a lifetime
The lifetime risk of harm from drinking alcohol increases with the amount consumed.
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
On a single occasion of drinking, the risk of alcohol-related injury increases with the amount consumed.
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
For children and young people under 18 years of age, not drinking alcohol is the safest option.
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 15−17 years, the safest option is to delay the initiation of drinking for as long as possible.
GUIDELINE 4. Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Maternal alcohol consumption can harm the developing fetus or breastfeeding baby.
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.
Drinking is not recommended if you:
- Have a condition made worse by drinking (For example: high blood pressure or alcohol dependence).
- Are about to engage in activities requiring a degree of skill or risk (driving, flying, water sports, operating machinery).
- Are on any medication, in which case it is recommended that you speak with your doctor before drinking alcohol.
For more information on the Australian Alcohol Guidelines ask your GP or go to the following website: http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/your-health/alcohol-guidelines
National Health and Medical Research Council. (2009). Australian Alcohol Guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol. Canberra, Commonwealth of Australia.
Page last updated: 20 July 2020