Summer Months and Alcohol-Related Harm

Risky drinking and getting drunk contributes to the alcohol-related harm experienced over the summer months, including in the lead up to, and on most public holidays.1

In 2019, almost half (44%) of Western Australian’s who drink reported drinking with the intent to get drunk 2, and more than one in three (37.3%) drink at levels that increase their risk of harm on a single drinking occasion.3 Drinking four drinks on a single drinking occasion more than doubles the relative risk of an alcohol-related injury, and this risk increases rapidly after more than four drinks.4

For example:

  • Research conducted by the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine found one in seven patients entering major, regional and urban district Australian hospital emergency departments on Australia Day in 2016 were there because of alcohol-related harm. This equates to 386 out of the 2,556 patients attended to at 11:00pm that day.5
  • More young people under 25 require emergency medical attention for drunkenness on Australia Day compared to the average, with a 50% increase in both ambulance attendances and emergency department presentations in Melbourne on that day.1

This summer, remember you don’t need to drink to have a good time.

If you do choose to have a drink, remember these three tips to help you reduce how much you drink:

  1. Choose low-strength alcohol.
  2. Alternate each alcoholic drink with a non-alcoholic drink, such as water, soft drink or non-alcoholic beer, wine or cider.
  3. Set yourself a drink limit and try to keep track of how many drinks you’ve had. Remember, drinking more than four standard drinks more than doubles your risk of alcohol-related injury.

For more tips on how to cut down, click here.

For young people under 18, not drinking is the safest option, and no one should provide alcohol to under 18s.

1

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2017). National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2016: detailed findings. AIHW: Canberra.

2

Egerton-Warburton, D., Gosbell, A., Wadsworth, A., Fatovich, D., & Richardson, D. (2017). Australia Day 2016: alcohol-related presentations to emergency departments. Medical Journal of Australia, 206(1).  

3

Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education. (2019). 2019 Annual Alcohol Poll: Attitudes and Behaviours. FARE: ACT.

4

Lloyd, B., Matthews, S., Livingston, M., & Jayasekara, H. (2011). Drinking cultures and social occasions – public holidays. Research summary. Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre: Fitzroy, Victoria.

5

National Health and Medical Research Council. (2009). Australian guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol. Commonwealth of Australia: Canberra, ACT. 

Page last updated: 20 July 2020

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