Living in Australia

Alcohol

Allianz Global Assistance Overseas Health - drinks with friends

In Australia, alcohol can be part of many social occasions – people drink to celebrate, relax and have fun.

While enjoying a drink with your friends can be a fun way to socialise, it’s important you understand the laws around alcohol in Australia and the potential health problems caused by drinking.

How much is a standard drink?

A standard drink in Australia is any drink containing 10 grams of alcohol, regardless of the type of alcohol (e.g. beer, wine, spirit) and size of container (e.g. glass, bottle, can).

Counting standard drinks is a much more reliable way of keeping track of how much alcohol you’ve consumed. Counting glasses, bottles, or cans of alcohol can be misleading because they can contain different amounts of alcohol.

Always read the container for the exact number of standard drinks.

For more information about standard drinks, visit the National Health and Medical Research Council website.

Alcohol and the law

There are different laws that apply in each Australian state and territory regarding the use of alcohol. However, generally you cannot:

  • drive under the influence of alcohol
  • drink alcohol under the age of 18 years old
  • purchase alcohol if you’re under the age of 18 years old
  • supply alcohol to someone under 18 years old.

Alcohol laws in Australia restrict drinking in certain places. For example, it’s illegal to drink alcohol in public places (e.g. beaches, parks and streets).

Penalties for breaking these laws may include:

  • Fines
  • Imprisonment
  • Disqualification from driving if driving under the influence of alcohol

Alcohol and your health

Ongoing and regular drinking can have harmful effects on your health and can lead to organ damage. Alcohol can also increase your risk of developing certain cancers and harm your baby during pregnancy.

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) recommends you drink no more than 2 standard drinks per day.

Allianz Global Assistance Overseas Health - friends drinking

How to drink wisely

  • Set yourself limits
  • Know what a standard drink is and keep track of what you’ve had to drink
  • Have something to eat before or while you’re drinking
  • Avoid mixing different types of alcohol
  • Don’t drink if taking certain medication
  • Don’t drink and drive
  • Drink slowly
  • Don’t drink if you’re pregnant or if you have a serious illness

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