Are younger or older Australians aged 12-17 years more likely to drink at levels that increase their short-term risk of injury?

Among Australian youth aged 12-17 years, older youth are more likely than younger youth to drink at levels that increase their short-term risk of alcohol-related injury on a yearly, monthly, or weekly basis.

86% of Australians aged 12-15 years abstain from alcohol, 10% drink at low risk levels (4 or less drinks on a single occasion), 3% drink at levels that increase their short-term risk of injury (5 or more drinks) on a yearly basis, 1%* do so on a monthly basis, and 0.4%** do so on a weekly basis. 46% of Australians aged 16-17 years abstain from alcohol, 23% drink at low risk levels (4 or less drinks on a single occasion), 8% drink at levels that increase their short-term risk of injury (5 or more drinks) on a yearly basis, 15% 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). 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.

** 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.

The proportion of school students who drink at risky levels differs from the proportion of young people in the general population who drink at risky levels (see FAQ Are younger or older Australian school students aged 12-17 years more likely to drink at levels that increase their short-term risk of injury?). This is due to the use of different survey measures. The school students’ survey (ASSAD) presents data on short-term risky drinking during the past week. By contrast, the general population survey (NDSHS) presents data on short-term risky drinking on a weekly, monthly, and yearly basis.

Short-Term Risk of Alcohol-Related 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.