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.  

34% of employed Australians aged 14-17 years abstain from alcohol; 25% drink at low risk levels (4 or less drinks on a single drinking occasion); 10%* 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; 21% do so on a monthly basis; and 10%* do so on a weekly basis. 12% of employed Australians aged 18-24 years abstain from alcohol; 20% drink at low risk levels (4 or less drinks on a single drinking occasion); 14% 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 28% do so on a weekly basis. 11% of employed Australians aged 25-29 years abstain from alcohol; 28% drink at low risk levels (4 or less drinks on a single drinking occasion); 17% 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; 21% do so on a monthly basis; and 23% do so on a weekly basis. 14% of employed Australians aged 30-39 years abstain from alcohol; 34% 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; 17% do so on a monthly basis; and 18% do so on a weekly basis. 12% of employed Australians aged 40-49 years abstain from alcohol; 41% drink at low risk levels (4 or less drinks on a single drinking occasion); 15% 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 18% do so on a weekly basis. 13% of employed Australians aged 50-59 years abstain from alcohol; 50% 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; 11% do so on a monthly basis; and 15% do so on a weekly basis. 15% of employed Australians aged 60-69 years abstain from alcohol; 57% 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 11% do so on a weekly basis. 17% of employed Australians aged 70+ years abstain from alcohol; 65% 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; 6%* do so on a monthly basis; and 6%* do so on a weekly basis. * Estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NCETA secondary analysis, 2015).

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

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.