Alcohol is a drug that acts as a depressant and slows down the brain and nervous system. It is the most widely used drug in Australia. 

Most Australians who drink alcohol do so at levels that have few adverse effects. However, any level of drinking increases the risk of ill-health and injury. Drinking a lot of alcohol over time can cause weight gain and lead to serious health problems including damage to your brain and liver, heart disease and high blood pressure.


The Australian Alcohol Guidelines (2009) recommend: 
  • If you drink regularly, drink no more than two standard drinks each day. 
  • On any single occasion, drink no more than four standard drinks. 
  • Young people under 18 years of age should not drink alcohol. 
  • The safest option for a pregnant or breastfeeding mother is not to drink alcohol. 
Drinking less frequently, e.g. drinking weekly rather than daily, and drinking less on each occasion, reduces the lifetime risk of alcohol-related harm. 

Get the Facts on Alcohol [fact sheet]

For more information and advice contact the Alcohol & Drug Information Service (ADIS) 1800 422 599 or (02) 9361 8000 or visit