Sue Walker

Sue Walker

Guest Blogger at See Full Details
Sue is a Registered Nurse and holds a Masters Degree in Primary Health Care majoring in Palliative Care. Sue has extensive experience both as a clinician, educator, and senior manager in the aged care, mental health, and palliative care settings.
Sue Walker

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Australian guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol

NHMRC has released the draft revised Australian guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol for public consultation. The guidelines are being updated to reflect the most recent and best available evidence on the health effects of drinking alcohol.

The period of Public consultation is 16 December 2019 – 24 February 2020. To download the document and/or make comment on the draft guidelines click here>>

Alcohol is the most widely used drug in Australia with 80% of adults using the drug in any one year. Alcohol is the prime drug of choice for people diagnosed with Substance abuse disorder. Alcohol is linked to increased risk of injury – whether that is self-inflicted through falls and accidents or injury inflicted on others through violent behaviour of the person affected by alcohol. There are a number of chronic diseases leading to early death associated with alcohol consumption.

The above graph is from page 16 of the report and highlights the social consequence of alcohol consumption.

In summary, there are three recommendations to consider:

Guideline 1

“To reduce the risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury for healthy men and women, drink no more than 10 standard drinks per week and no more than 4 standard drinks on any one day.
The less you choose to drink, the lower your risk of alcohol-related harm. For some people not drinking at all is the safest option.”

Guideline 2

“To reduce the risk of injury and other harms to health, children and young people under 18 years of age should not drink alcohol.
There is no ‘safe’ or ‘no-risk’ level of drinking alcohol for children and young people aged under 18 years. This is because alcohol can harm the way the body and brain develop, increase the risk of injury and other immediate harms, and increase the risk of developing alcohol-related conditions later in life.”

Guideline 3

“To reduce the risk of harm to their unborn child, women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy should not drink alcohol. For women who are breastfeeding, not drinking is safest for their baby.”

There is some very interesting information in this draft document and I recommend it to you for your review and comment.