Australian guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol.

Alcohol is the most widely used drug in Australia. People drink alcohol for a range of reasons and in different social and cultural contexts, but alcohol can cause harm to the person who drinks and sometimes to others around them.

NHMRC has guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol. The guidelines provide health professionals, policy makers and the Australian community with evidence-based advice on the health effects of drinking alcohol. They also help people make informed decisions about how much alcohol they drink, if any. 

This page describes the guidelines’ recommendations and includes resources available to apply them in daily life. 

The full guidelines and underpinning evidence documents are available on our alcohol publication page.

Alcohol guidelines

Guideline 1: Reducing the risk of alcohol-related harm for 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.

Guideline 2: Children and 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.

Guideline 3: Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding

A. To prevent harm from alcohol to their unborn child, women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy should not drink alcohol.

B. For women who are breastfeeding, not drinking alcohol is safest for their baby.

What is a standard drink?

A standard drink contains 10 grams of pure alcohol. The type of alcohol makes no difference, 10 grams of alcohol is 10 grams of alcohol, whether it is in beer, wine or spirits.

It does not matter whether it is mixed with soft drink, fruit juice, water or ice.

  • Light beer (2.7% alc/vol) 425 mL
  • Mid strength beer (3.5% alc/vol) 375 mL
  • Full strength beer (4.9% alc/vol) 285 mL
  • Regular cider (4.9% alc/vol) 285 mL 
  • Sparkling wine (13% alc/vol) 100 mL
  • Wine (13% alc/vol) 100 mL
  • Fortified wine e.g. sherry, port (20% alc/vol) 60 mL
  • Spirits e.g. vodka, gin, rum, whiskey (40% alc/vol) 30 mL

'What is a standard drink?' infographic. Full text under 'What is a standard drink heading' above.

Infographic ‘Alcohol Guidelines’ showing 3 guides for healthy adults, children and people under 18 years of age, and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Full description under 'Alcohol guidelines' heading near the top of this page.

The Australian guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol and the underpinning evidence documents are available on our alcohol publication page

Read the full media release.

Contact 

Postal address:

Alcohol Guidelines Project Team
National Health and Medical Research Council
GPO Box 1421
Canberra ACT 2601

Email Address: alcohol@nhmrc.gov.au