Reducing the risks of alcohol

Low-risk drinking guidelines
The National Health and Medical Research Centre Council of Australia has created a set of guidelines for males and females for low-risk drinking for both long-term harm and short-term harm*.

For the general population, the guidelines for low-risk drinking for long-term harm are:

For Males
An average of up to 4 standard drinks a day.
No more than 28 standard drinks over a week.
One to two alcohol-free days per week.

For Females
An average of up to 2 standard drinks a day.
No more than 14 standard drinks over a week.
One to two alcohol-free days per week.


For the general population, the guidelines for low-risk drinking for short-term harm are:

For Males
No more than six standard drinks on any one day.
No more than three days a week.

For Females
No more than four standard drinks on any one day.
No more than three days a week.


These guidelines assume:
  • The drinks are consumed at a moderate rate. For example, males should not consume more than two standard drinks in the first hour, and no more than one standard drink per hour thereafter and females should not consume more than one standard drink per hour.
  • The person drinking alcohol is not on medication; is not pregnant; will not be driving, operating machinery or performing an activity that involves risk or requires a degree of skill; and is over 18 years of age.
  • The person is of average or larger size

*New draft guidelines for low risk drinking have just been released. If these guidelines are approved the amount of drinks considered to be low risk drinking will be a lot less.