What are Australia’s alcohol consumption guidelines?

Australia’s guidelines in relation to alcohol are developed by an expert committee of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). The most recent guidelines were released in 2019. There are three guidelines for reducing the health risks associated with drinking alcohol:

Adults: To reduce the risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury, healthy men and women should drink no more than 10 standard drinks a week and no more than 4 standard drinks on any one day. The less you drink, the lower your risk of harm from alcohol.

Following this guideline keeps an adult’s risk of harm from alcohol low, but it does not remove all risk. A healthy adult who follows this guideline has a less than 1 in 100 chance of dying from an alcohol-related condition.

Children and young people under 18 years of age: To reduce the risk of injury and other harms to health, children and people under 18 years of age should not drink alcohol.

People under the age of 18 are more likely to suffer harm from alcohol and thus it is recommended that they do not drink alcohol.

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding: To prevent harm from alcohol to their unborn child, women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy should not drink alcohol. For women who are breastfeeding, not drinking alcohol is safest for their baby.  

Drinking alcohol while pregnant or breastfeeding can harm the developing foetus/breastfed baby. For women who are pregnant, planning a pregnancy, or breastfeeding, not drinking is the safest option.

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) (2019). Australian guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol.

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