HealthStats NSW

Alcohol drinking in adults

Males, 2015
35.1Males, 2014
37.1Males, 2013
36.4Males, 2012
37.3Males, 2011
39.5Males, 2010
39.6Males, 2009
42.1Males, 2008
43.2Males, 2007
43.5Males, 2006
42.1Males, 2005
43.3Males, 2004
45.2Males, 2003
46Males, 2002
43.8Females, 2015
17.1Females, 2014
18.1Females, 2013
17.3Females, 2012
18.3Females, 2011
20Females, 2010
20.4Females, 2009
20.4Females, 2008
21.3Females, 2007
20.2Females, 2006
21Females, 2005
20Females, 2004
21.7Females, 2003
21.9Females, 2002
21.6Persons, 2015
25.9Persons, 2014
27.4Persons, 2013
26.6Persons, 2012
27.6Persons, 2011
29.6Persons, 2010
29.8Persons, 2009
31.1Persons, 2008
32.1Persons, 2007
31.3Persons, 2006
31.4Persons, 2005
31.4Persons, 2004
33.3Persons, 2003
33.7Persons, 2002
32.5
  • + Source

    NSW Population Health Survey (SAPHaRI). Centre for Epidemiology and Evidence, NSW Ministry of Health.

  • + Notes

    To assist monitoring long-term risk of harm, as defined by Guideline 1 of the 2009 National Health and Medical Research Council Guidelines, this indicator provides information on the proportion of adults who consume more than 2 standard drinks on a day when they consume alcohol (see Methods tab for further information).

    Adults are defined as persons aged 16 years and over in NSW Population Health Survey.

    The indicator shows self-reported data collected through Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI). Estimates were weighted to adjust for differences in the probability of selection among respondents and were benchmarked to the estimated residential population using the latest available Australian Bureau of Statistics mid-year population estimates. Adults are defined as persons aged 16 years and over in the NSW Population Health Survey.

    In order to address diminishing coverage of the population by landline telephone numbers (<85% since 2010), a mobile phone number sampling frame was introduced into the 2012 survey.

  • + Commentary

    Excessive alcohol consumption is the leading contributor to the burden of illness and deaths in Australia for people aged up to 44 years and the third overall contributor to total burden of disease and illness for all ages, behind tobacco and high body mass. 

    The guidelines to reduce the health risks from drinking alcohol, published by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) in 2009, state that the lifetime risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury is reduced by drinking no more than two standard drinks on any day when drinking alcohol. The measure of lifetime risk of harm is defined as more than 2 standard drinks on a day when usually drinking, and is referred to as "long-term risk of harm" from alcohol consumption. As this definition is based on usual alcohol consumption, therefore representing an overall pattern of drinking, it reflects alcohol use related to health risk over the long-term.

    In 2016, the NSW Population Health Survey found that 29.8% of adults aged 16 years and over (40.4% of men and 19.6% of women) consumed more than 2 standard alcoholic drinks on a day when they drank alcohol.

    While alcohol consumption at levels that pose a long-term health risk has been in decline over the last 10 years in NSW to 2015, prevalence estimates increased in 2016 to levels observed 4-5 years previously. Further years of data will be required to determine if this is due to random fluctuation in the estimate for 2016 or a change in the trend. 

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  • + Methods
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  • + Associated Information
    • Key points: Alcohol

      Latest available information

      Latest available data for adults in NSW

      • 29.8% of adults aged 16 years and over (40.4% of men and 19.6% of women) consumed more than 2 standard alcoholic drinks on a day when they consumed alcohol, as estimated from the 2016 NSW Adult Population Health Survey (self-reported using Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing or CATI).

      • 16.8% of persons aged 15 years and over (25.0% of males and 9.0% of females) in NSW consumed more than 2 standard alcoholic drinks on average in the last week, as estimated from the 2014-15 Australian Health Survey (interviewer-administered questionnaire).

      Latest available data for secondary school students in NSW

      • 14.0% of students aged 12-17 years (14.0% of boys and 13.9% of girls) consumed alcohol in the last 7 days as estimated from the 2014 NSW School Students Health Behaviours Survey (self-completed questionnaire).

      Latest available data for adult Aboriginal people in NSW

      • 44.1% of Aboriginal adults aged 16 years and over consumed more than 2 standard alcoholic drinks on a day when they consumed alcohol, as estimated from the 2016 NSW Adult Population Health Survey (self-reported using Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing or CATI).

      Overall trends in NSW

      Self-reported data on consuming more than 2 standard alcoholic drinks on a day have been collected for adults in NSW since 1997 through the NSW Population Health Survey, and since 1985 through the National Drug Strategy Household Survey. Data from an interviewer-administered questionnaire has been collected in the National Health Survey (2007-08) and Australian Health Survey (2014-15).

      Self-reported data on alcohol drinking in the past 7 days have been collected for students in NSW since 1987 through the NSW School Students Health Behaviours Survey.

      Prevalence estimates, although differing slightly between surveys because of different sampling frames, participation rates and modes of collection (telephone versus self-completed questionnaires versus face-to-face personal interview versus drop-and-collect) have remained constant over time for adults and fallen in school students.

      Alcohol problems in emergency departments

      There were just over 13,600 unplanned presentations to 86 NSW public hospital emergency departments for alcohol problems in NSW in 2016. In 2015-16, the rate of ED presentations was 60% higher among those aged 18-24 years  (372.6 per 100,000 population) compared with all those aged 15 years and over (233.4 per 100,000 population) in NSW. In 2015-16, ED presentation rates and numbers were around 65% higher for males compared with females aged over 15 years, however were about the same for males and females aged 18-24 years (374.6 and 370.6 per 100,000 respectively). There were 8,540 presentations for alcohol-related problems among all males aged over 15 years in 2015-16 and 1,367 in males aged 18-24 years (16% of all males) compared with 5,113 for all females aged over 15 years and 1,269 for females aged 18-24 years (25% of all females). 

      Data are from 86 NSW public hospital emergency departments (EDs) that have reported continuously since 2007 and have collected reasonably complete diagnosis information since 2007. These EDs accounted for around 87% of all emergency department activity in NSW in 2014-15, consequently the presentations reported here are under-estimates of the actual NSW presentations. The under-estimation differs by geographical area, which precludes analysis by Local Health District, Primary Health Network, Local Government Area and remoteness from service centres. Data refer to all presentations to the included EDs regardless of patients' district or state of residence. 

      Hospitalisations attributable to alcohol

      A total of 53,933 hospitalisations were attributed to alcohol in NSW in 2014-15, which was approximately 1.1% of all hospitalisations.

      The rate of hospitalisations attributable to alcohol was relatively stable in all persons in recent years, in contrast to the Aboriginal population, where the rate has been declining since it peaked in males in 2006-07 and in females in 2008-09 until 2011-12. The rate rose in 2012-13 but has declined again in 2014-15. The rate in the Aboriginal population was 2.2 times higher than the rate in the non-Aboriginal population in 2014-15.

      The rate of hospitalisation for injury attributable to alcohol was also stable in all persons in recent years.

      There was considerable variation in the rate of hospitalisations attributable to alcohol between Local Government Areas (LGAs), with 47 LGAs having a rate significantly higher than the state average and 53 significantly lower than the state average (at the 1% level of significance) in the period 2013/14-2014/15.

      Deaths attributable to alcohol

      A total of 1,289 deaths were attributed to alcohol in NSW in 2013, which was approximately 2.6% of all deaths in 2013.

      The death rate attributable to alcohol declined slightly between 2004 and 2013. The rates in males and females were 24.0 and 7.41 deaths per 100,000 population respectively in 2013.

      References

      Centre for Epidemiology and Evidence, NSW Ministry of Health. NSW Population Health Surveys. Available at: http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/surveys/pages/default.aspx

      Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. National Drug Strategy Household Survey report. Available at: http://www.aihw.gov.au/alcohol-and-other-drugs/data-sources/about-ndshs/

    • Introduction: Alcohol

      Alcohol and health implications

      Excessive alcohol consumption is one of the main preventable public health problems in Australia, with alcohol being second only to tobacco as a preventable cause of drug-related death and hospitalisation. 

      Long-term adverse effects of high consumption of alcohol on health include contribution to cardiovascular disease, some cancers, nutrition-related conditions, risks to unborn babies, cirrhosis of the liver, mental health conditions, tolerance and dependence, long term cognitive impairment, and self-harm.

      Some research suggests that at very low levels of consumption, alcohol may reduce the risk of some cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disorders, while other research suggests that there may be no protective effect from drinking.

      The guidelines to reduce the health risks from drinking alcohol, published by the National Health and Medical Research Council in 2009, state that the lifetime risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury is reduced by drinking no more than two standard drinks on any day when drinking alcohol. These guidelines also state that drinking no more than four standard drinks on a single occasion reduces the immediate risk of alcohol-related injury arising from that occasion. In HealthStats NSW, the measure of lifetime risk of harm is defined as more than 2 standard drinks on a day when usually drinking, and is referred to as "long-term risk of harm" from alcohol consumption. As this definition is based on usual alcohol consumption, therefore representing an overall pattern of drinking, it reflects alcohol use related to health risk over the long-term.    

      Harm from alcohol-related accident or injury is experienced disproportionately by younger people; over half of all serious alcohol-related road injuries occur among 15–24-year-olds. However, harm from alcohol-related disease is more marked among older people.

      Useful websites:

      National Health and Medical Research Council. Australian guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol. Canberra: NHMRC, 2009. Available at: http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/_files_nhmrc/file/publications/synopses/ds10-alcohol.pdf

      NSW Ministry of Health. Reducing alcohol-related harm snapshot, 2017. Available at: http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/aod/strategy/Publications/reducing-alcohol-harm-snapshot-2017.pdf

      Australian Bureau of Statistics at http://www.abs.gov.au

      Australian Institute of Health and Welfare at http://www.aihw.gov.au

      healthdirect at http://www.healthdirect.gov.au

    • Interventions: Alcohol

      Information on the programs available for the prevention and management of alcohol-related harm can be found in the Reducing alcohol-related harm snapshot, 2017 and the Ministry of Health website.

    • For more information: Alcohol

      Useful websites include:

      NSW Health: Alcohol and other drugs website at http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/aod/Pages/default.aspx

      Your Room website at http://yourroom.com.au/

      Get Healthy Information and Coaching Service at http://www.gethealthynsw.com.au/  

      Australian Bureau of Statistics at http://www.abs.gov.au

      Australian Institute of Health and Welfare at http://www.aihw.gov.au

      healthdirect at http://www.healthdirect.gov.au

Last Updated At: Monday, 24 April 2017