Is there a safe level of drinking?

There is no level of alcohol consumption that is guaranteed to be completely “safe” or “without risk”. Current Australian alcohol guidelines describe a level of drinking that enables healthy adults to minimise the risk of alcohol-related accidents, injuries, diseases and death.

These guidelines recommend consuming no more than 4 standard drinks on any single occasion of drinking, and an average of no more than 2 standard drinks per day long-term. These levels apply to both men and women. For pregnant and breastfeeding women, children, and young people aged under 18, not drinking at all is recommended as the safest option.

For more information on current Australian alcohol guidelines see FAQ: What are Australia’s alcohol consumption guidelines? A copy of the complete guidelines is available from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

Source: National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) (2009). Australian guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol.

Single Occasion of Drinking: Any time a person consumes one or more drinks containing alcohol, and during this period of time their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) does not return to zero.

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