Guidelines to Reduce Health Risks from Drinking Alcohol

ThiResponsible Service of Alcohols is a summary of guidelines for low-risk drinking for RSA staff .

Guideline 1:

Reducing the risk of alcohol-related harm over a lifetime
The lifetime risk of harm from drinking alcohol increases with the amount consumed.

For healthy men and women, drinking no more than two standard drinks on any day reduces the lifetime risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury.

Guideline 2:

Reducing the risk of injury on a single occasion of drinking

On a single occasion of drinking, the risk of alcohol-related injury increases with the amount consumed.

For healthy men and women, drinking no more than four standard drinks on a single occasion reduces the risk of alcohol-related injury arising from that occasion.

Guideline 3:

Children and young people under 18 years of age

For children and young people below 18 years of age, not drinking alcohol is the safest option.

• Parents and carers should be advised that children under 15 years of age are at the greatest risk of harm from drinking and that for this age group, not drinking alcohol is especially important
• For young people aged 15−17 years, the safest option is to delay the initiation of drinking for as long as possible

Guideline 4:

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Maternal alcohol consumption can harm the developing foetus or breastfeeding baby.

  • For women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, not drinking is the safest option

  • For women who are breastfeeding, not drinking is the safest option.

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