Health News

Reduce your risk: new national guidelines for alcohol consumption

(From Australian Government - Department of Health and Ageing)

New national guidelines for alcohol consumption have been developed by the National Health and Medical Research Council to help you reduce your risk of harm from alcohol.

The guidelines are based on the most current and best available scientific research and evidence.

How much you drink is your choice, but the guidelines can help you make informed choices and help keep our risk of alcohol-related accidents, injuries, diseases and death, low-both in the short and long term.

What do I need to know:

Factors such as gender, age, mental health, drug use, and existing medical conditions can change how alcohol affects you. Responsible drinking is about balancing your enjoyment of alcohol with the potential risks and harm that may arise from drinking - especially if you go beyond low risk drinking levels.

What do the Guidelines recommend?

  • For healthy men and women, drinking no more than two standard drinks on any day reduces your risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury over a lifetime.
  • Drinking no more than four standard drinks on a single occasion reduces the risk of alcohol-related injury arising from that occasion.

What are the health risks?

The health risks that accumulate over a lifetime from alcohol increases progressively- this means that the more you drink, the greater the risk. Drinking alcohol can affect your liver or cause brain damage, heart disease, high blood pressure and increases your risk of many cancers. It may also increase your risk of injury through road trauma, violence, falls and accidental death.

What is a standard drink?

A standard drink contains 10 grams of pure alcohol.

It is important to note that drink serving sizes are often more than one standard drink. There are no common glass sizes used in Australia.

The label on an alcoholic drink container tells you the number of standard drinks in the container.

Tips to reduce the risk to your health when drinking

  • Set limits for yourself and stick to them
  • Start with non-alcoholic drinks and alternate with alcoholic drinks
  • Drink slowly
  • Try drinks with a lower alcohol content
  • Eat before or while you are drinking
  • If you participate in rounds of drinks try to include some non-alcoholic drinks

*For more information about the Australian Guidelines go to:*

*For information, advice, counselling and referral call: 9442 5000 (24hr alcohol & drug information service)


Jenny Hill
College nurse