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Alcohol

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  • drink
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  • liquor
  • piss
  • sauce
  • grog
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What is alcohol?

Alcohol is a drug that acts as a depressant and slows down the brain and nervous system. It is the most widely used drug in Australia.

What is a standard drink? Learn how many standard drinks are in common glasses by using the Standard Drink Calculator.

Download the alcohol fact sheet

Learn more
Alcohol
Alcohol

Ethanol

(C2H6O)

Drinking a small amount is not harmful for most people, but excessive drinking on any one occasion can cause health, personal and social problems.

Immediate effects can include

  • relax / feel good
  • feel dizzy / have bad balance
  • bad co-ordination
  • react slowly

Effects depend on...

​The effects of alcohol depends on how much you drink, how quickly you drink it, your size and weight, and whether you are male or female.

It can also depend on how good your general health is, how healthy your liver is, where you drink, whether you drink alone, whether you use alcohol with other drugs including medications and if there is a family history of alcohol and other drug dependence.

  • do or say things you normally wouldn't
  • blurred vision
  • get angry
  • depressed
  • vomit
  • slur your words

How alcohol affects your body

Tap a body part to learn more of the effects alcohol places on your body.

Long term effects can include

  • depression
  • frequent infections
  • diabetes
  • memory loss/confusion
  • poor diet
  • relationship problems
  • work problems
  • money or legal troubles
  • dependence

General information

Is alcohol a problem for you?

Anyone drinking regularly can develop a tolerance to alcohol. Tolerance means that you must drink more to feel the same effects you used to have with lower amounts.

The way you choose to stop is a personal one but there is assistance available.

See full support list
  • Whether you are having issues with alcohol or other drugs, are concerned about someone else’s alcohol or other drug use, or just have general questions about alcohol or other drugs, you can call ADIS any time of the day or week for support, information, counselling and referral to services in NSW.

    ADIS Web Chat is also available from Monday to Friday 8.30am – 5pm (including public holidays).

    24 hour support line

    1800 250 015

    More about Alcohol Drug Information Service (ADIS) NSW
  • The COVID-19 pandemic continues to change lives in many different ways, to support the community we have developed a range of alcohol and other drug specific resources to help you with accessing services and support you with any stress and anxiety you may be experiencing. We will continue to update this page as new resources and information becomes available.

    For general updates, advice and facts visit COVID-19 (coronavirus) and follow NSW Health on Facebook and Twitter.

    On this page

    1. Impact on alcohol and other drug services
    2. Managing your use of alcohol
    3. Dealing with aggression in the home
    4. Looking after your mental and physical health

    Impact on alcohol and other drug services

    As the COVID-19 pandemic develops, NSW Health is working with local health districts, non-government organisation (NGO), alcohol and other drug (AOD) services and community pharmacies to ensure continuity of service. For full details visit Guidance for AOD Services about COVID-19 on the NSW Health website. For information on access to free naloxone (opioid overdose reversing medicine), visit 'Take home naloxone – a key component in COVID-19 preparedness'.

    Managing your use of alcohol

    NSW Health have launched the new free smartphone app, Drinks Meter. The app is a useful tool in this time of social distancing and isolation as it provides you with an opportunity to manage your alcohol consumption in times of stress and anxiety.

    The Get Healthy Service Alcohol Reduction Program is also available for people who want to reduce their alcohol consumption to achieve and maintain a healthy weight and a healthier lifestyle. The Alcohol Reduction Program is open to anyone aged 18 years and over.

    Dealing with aggression in the home

    A new suite of resources have been developed to support families who may experience risk to themselves or others as a result of alcohol or drug related aggression in the home. The three guides are written for teenagers, adults, professionals and people concerned about the safety of young children. Read about the guides and access the online versions at Managing AOD related aggression: New practical guides for families.

    Looking after your mental and physical health

    In this time of unprecedented concern about our collective health and livelihoods, it is more important than ever to remain socially connected and physically healthy. For more advice and tips to keep healthy read Maintaining happiness amid global anxiety and Soothing COVID-19 isolation anxiety.


    More about COVID-19 Support
  • The Alcohol & Drug Information Service (ADIS) Web Chat is a live online conversation with a professional counsellor. The service is free, confidential and open to anyone affected by alcohol and other drugs, including people concerned about their own use, or about a family member or friend. Web chat is only available for people living in NSW.

    The service is provided by ADIS at St Vincent's Hospital, in partnership with the NSW Ministry of Health.

    What to expect

    • A counsellor will chat with you about your alcohol or other drug concerns
    • A counsellor can provide a referral or contact information for relevant alcohol and drug services in NSW

    To start a web chat counselling session read and accept the 'Terms and Conditions of Use' below.

    Alternatively, if you would like to speak to a drug and alcohol counsellor over the phone, please call the National Alcohol and Other Drug helpline on 1800 250 015 which will direct you to your state service. The helpline is available 24/7 for anonymous and confidential support.

    Emergency Assistance

    Call Emergency Services on 000 if you:

    • require urgent medical attention or 
    • are in immediate danger or 
    • are at risk of harming yourself or someone else.

    Monday to Friday 8.30am – 5pm (including public holidays)

    Web Chat

    More about ADIS Web Chat
  • Your Service Hub is an online directory of alcohol and other drugs support, health and welfare services. If you need support for your own or someone else's substance use, you should use terms in Find Services like:

    • drug and alcohol family support

    • drug and alcohol Aboriginal services 

    • drug counselling

    • drug and alcohol rehabilitation

    • drug and alcohol residential treatment

    along with your suburb name to narrow the search to services near you.

    Not sure what service you need? Call the Alcohol and Drug Information Service on 1800 250 015.

    More about Your Service Hub
  • Drinks Meter is an app that gives you confidential, personal feedback about your alcohol use based on advice from doctors and Australian guidelines.

    Drinks Meter is:

    • Free to download
    • A user-friendly app on your phone where you can easily enter what alcoholic drink you had in the past 7 days and how much you spent.
    • Shows what you've been drinking in equivalent standard drinks, how many kilojoules/calories you've consumed, shows that as equivalent foods like cheeseburgers or chocolate bars, adds up your weekly spend, as well as how your drink compares to national alcohol guidelines and other users of Drink Meter.

    • Personalises your feedback as it adjusts risks based on family & medical history (e.g. BMI, prescription medication, mental illness and addiction)

    • Has tools to help you cut down your drinking, like setting a goal for the next week, tracking how much you're drinking in the diary and the interactive pouring tool to help you understand what a standard drink is. 

    Get started by downloading the Drinks Meter app through your app store.

    app-store.png google-play.png

    Drinks Meter screenshots




    App available for iPhone and Android

    Drinks Meter

    More about Drinks Meter app
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