Alcohol and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
Statistics show that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are less likely to drink alcohol than other Australians. But those that do drink are more likely to drink at dangerous levels. Find out how you can reduce your risk and how your community can play a role.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are less likely to drink alcohol than other Australians. But those that do drink are more likely than other Australians to:
- drink at dangerous levels – both over a lifetime and on a single occasion
- go to hospital for alcohol-related conditions such as liver disease
If you’re an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person, you may face:
- trauma that extends across generations
- family separation
- insecure housing
- negative experiences early in life
- difficulty finding work
These can contribute to drinking at risky levels.
How to reduce your risk
Understand the risks
Drinking alcohol can have short and long-term effects on your health, your loved ones and your community. Make sure you’re aware of all the effects of alcohol.
Look after your health
Your physical and mental health is important. Improving your health can help you to get through tough times without alcohol.
- look after your general health – get regular sleep, have a balanced diet and start exercising
- talk to someone you trust, such as an Elder or friend
- look for cultural and spiritual support from people in your community
- follow these tips for good mental health
Manage your drinking
To help you drink more safely, take a look at:
- standard drinks – what they are and why counting them is a good idea
- how much alcohol is safe to drink – guidelines to reduce your risk based on expert research
You can also read tips on how to reduce or quit alcohol.
Seek help if you need it
If you feel like you’re drinking too much, talk to a doctor, Aboriginal Health Worker or other health professional.
There are also services that provide help with alcohol issues for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Take a look at the list of programs for social and emotional wellbeing.
Be aware of what your community is doing
To help people reduce or stop drinking, some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities have:
- declared their communities ‘dry’ – this means they have banned the selling or drinking of alcohol
- reduced the supply of alcohol through liquor licensing laws
In some Queensland communities, you can apply to declare your own house a dry place.
Counselling online contact
Contact Counselling online if you have concerns about your own or someone else's drinking or drug use. They provide an online chat service, email support, self help tools, an SMS service and online forum. You can contact them 24 hours a day from anywhere in Australia.
- Strong Spirit Strong Mind – promotes the Aboriginal culture as a strength in reducing alcohol-related harm in Aboriginal communities in Perth
The grog book is a practical guide to dealing with alcohol in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. It includes case studies and ideas that can be tried out to help reduce harms caused by alcohol misuse.
This book contains stories from Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory and South Australia of living with and without alcohol . Find out about the different experiences people describe in the stories.