5th January, 2021 — Alcohol
Drinking: know the impact
Australian guidelines set out recommended daily limits of alcohol consumption and can tell you how many standard drinks are in your glass.
Your sporting club is a community leader. Clubs role-model healthy behaviours for their guests and members, playing an important role to prevent and reduce harms from alcohol and other drugs.
Know the Australian recommended guidelines for alcohol consumption. Share them around whether with posters or other reminders, at the club rooms, events or games.
Know the impact
Many people don’t understand the full range of harmful effects alcohol has. Alcohol can contribute to injury and ill health, violence, relationship and family issues, road accidents and death.
For people playing sport, drinking alcohol can affect your:
- reaction time and reflexes
- balance and hand-eye coordination
- speed and performance
- rehydration and healing
- and raise the risk of injury.
The Good Sports program has been shown to reduce risky drinking at clubs by 37%. It has also seen a drop in alcohol-related accidents among Good Sports club members and supporters by 42% compared to clubs that are not in the program.
Studies have also found that Good Sports helps clubs to be welcoming and positive. And that’s just what families and young people are looking for.
Know the Aussie guidelines
For healthy adult Australians, the recommended intake of alcohol to reduce the risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury is:
- no more than 10 standard drinks a week
- no more than 4 standard drinks on any one day.
For pregnancy, the guidelines state:
- to prevent harm from alcohol to their unborn child, women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy should not drink alcohol
- for women who are breastfeeding, not drinking alcohol is safest for their baby.
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.
Young people’s brains are still developing during teenage years. Drinking alcohol can affect the brain’s development.
When drinking, young people are likely to drink more per session and take more risks.
Selling alcohol to anyone aged under 18 is illegal across Australia. Secondary supply (buying alcohol for a person under 18) is also illegal in certain circumstances.
Know how much - a standard drink
Not all drinks are the same when it comes to alcohol content. A glass full of beer has a lower alcohol content than the same glass full of wine, for example. And if you fill that same glass with a fancy cocktail, the amount of alcohol in the glass will be greater yet again.
When the alcohol content in your glass is above the Australian standard of 10g, one glass is equal to more than one standard drink.
A standard drink is measured by the amount of pure alcohol in the drink, not the type of drink or the amount of liquid in the glass.
Here’s how to make sure you are counting the numbers that matter.
How many drinks per event
It is safest to drink no more than four standard drinks on any one occasion.
The more alcohol you drink in a single session, the greater the risk of injury (e.g. from accidents or violence due to increased risk-taking behaviour).
The level of alcohol in your bloodstream is called blood alcohol concentration (BAC). BAC is what police test for in roadside alcohol breath tests.
A BAC of 0.05% (point 0 five) means that there is 0.05g of alcohol in every 100ml of blood. This is the legal limit for driving in Australia.
In Australia, it’s illegal to drive with a BAC over 0.05%. Even below this, your judgement, reaction times and driving skill are not as good as you think they are. For example, you are twice as likely to have a crash when driving with a BAC of 0.05%, versus no alcohol.
How do I stay below 0.05?
It’s important to watch your alcohol intake carefully if you plan to drive. To stay below 0.05 BAC, your intake should be approximately:
- For men of average size to stay under the limit: no more than 2 standard drinks in the first hour and 1 drink per hour after that.
- For women of average size to stay under the limit: no more than 1 standard drink per hour.
Remember, this is only a guide. You might still blow above 0.05% even if you follow this. Your BAC depends on many different factors.