Are younger or older Australian employees more likely to drink at levels that increase their short-term risk of alcohol-related injury?

Employed Australians aged 18-24 years are the age group most likely to drink at levels that increase their short-term risk of alcohol-related injury on a weekly and monthly basis. Those aged 25-29 and 30-39 years are the most likely to drink at these levels on a yearly basis.  

38% of employed Australians aged 14-17 years abstain from alcohol; 29% drink at low risk levels (4 or less drinks on a single drinking occasion); 11%* drink at levels that increase their short-term risk of alcohol-related injury (5 or more drinks on a single drinking occasion) on a yearly basis; 18% do so on a monthly basis; and 4%** do so on a weekly basis. 12% of employed Australians aged 18-24 years abstain from alcohol; 23% drink at low risk levels (4 or less drinks on a single drinking occasion); 16% drink at levels that increase their short-term risk of alcohol-related injury (5 or more drinks on a single drinking occasion) on a yearly basis; 27% do so on a monthly basis; and 22% do so on a weekly basis. 14% of employed Australians aged 25-29 years abstain from alcohol; 27% drink at low risk levels (4 or less drinks on a single drinking occasion); 18% drink at levels that increase their short-term risk of alcohol-related injury (5 or more drinks on a single drinking occasion) on a yearly basis; 22% do so on a monthly basis; and 19% do so on a weekly basis. 14% of employed Australians aged 30-39 years abstain from alcohol; 33% drink at low risk levels (4 or less drinks on a single drinking occasion); 19% drink at levels that increase their short-term risk of alcohol-related injury (5 or more drinks on a single drinking occasion) on a yearly basis; 18% do so on a monthly basis; and 16% do so on a weekly basis. 13% of employed Australians aged 40-49 years abstain from alcohol; 39% drink at low risk levels (4 or less drinks on a single drinking occasion); 16% drink at levels that increase their short-term risk of alcohol-related injury (5 or more drinks on a single drinking occasion) on a yearly basis; 14% do so on a monthly basis; and 17% do so on a weekly basis. 12% of employed Australians aged 50-59 years abstain from alcohol; 48% drink at low risk levels (4 or less drinks on a single drinking occasion); 13% drink at levels that increase their short-term risk of alcohol-related injury (5 or more drinks on a single drinking occasion) on a yearly basis; 11% do so on a monthly basis; and 16% do so on a weekly basis. 14% of employed Australians aged 60-69 years abstain from alcohol; 55% drink at low risk levels (4 or less drinks on a single drinking occasion); 9% drink at levels that increase their short-term risk of alcohol-related injury (5 or more drinks on a single drinking occasion) on a yearly basis; 7% do so on a monthly basis; and 15% do so on a weekly basis. 25% of employed Australians aged 70+ years abstain from alcohol; 56% drink at low risk levels (4 or less drinks on a single drinking occasion); 6%* drink at levels that increase their short-term risk of alcohol-related injury (5 or more drinks on a single drinking occasion) on a yearly basis; 5%* do so on a monthly basis; and 8%* do so on a weekly basis. * Estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution. ** Estimate has a relative standard error greater than 50% and is considered too unreliable for general use.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NCETA secondary analysis, 2018).

* Estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution.

** Estimate has a relative standard error greater than 50% and is considered too unreliable for general use.

Please note: Percentages may not tally to 100% due to rounding. All measures of alcohol drinks refer to standard drinks.

Employed: Self-employed or working for salary or wages.

Short-Term Risk of Alcohol-Related Injury: An individual’s risk of experiencing alcohol-related harm on a single occasion of drinking, e.g. from alcohol-related accident or injury. Current Australian alcohol guidelines state that drinking five or more standard drinks on any single occasion significantly increases short-term risk of alcohol-related injury.

Standard Drink: A drink that contains 10 grams (or 12.5 millilitres) of alcohol.