Skip to content

Key resources

  • Bibliography
    Bibliography
  • Health promotion
    Health promotion
  • Health practice
    Health practice
  • Yarning places
    Yarning places
  • Programs
    Programs
  • Organisations
    Organisations
  • Conferences
    Conferences
  • Courses
    Courses
  • Funding
    Funding
  • Jobs
    Jobs
Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin
 
Print this page Print

spacing1What do we know about alcohol use among Indigenous people?

Drinking too much alcohol is associated with:

If a woman drinks alcohol when she is pregnant, the unborn child may be affected by foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), the term used to describe the physical, behavioural, and learning problems caused by alcohol damage to the brain and other parts of the body of the unborn baby [2]. The 2008 NATSISS found that 80% of mothers of Indigenous children aged 0-3 years did not drink during pregnancy, and 16% drank less alcohol [3]. Only 3% drank the same amount or more alcohol during pregnancy.

Indigenous people are less likely to drink alcohol (abstain) than non-Indigenous people [4][5]. The 2012-2013 AATSIHS found 23% of Indigenous people had never consumed alcohol or had not done so for more than 12 months [5]. Abstinence was 1.6 times more common among Indigenous peoples than non-Indigenous people; however the difference in abstinence is mostly due to those Indigenous people who did drink and have given up.

Levels of long-term/lifetime drinking risk (more than two standard drinks per day) were similar for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people; one-in-five drinkers aged 18 years and over in 2012-2013, drank at levels exceeding the 2009 guidelines for long-term/lifetime drinking risk [5]. However, Indigenous people were 1.4 times more likely to drink at levels of ‘high risk’ of lifetime harm than non-Indigenous people (2001 guidelines).

Levels of short term/single occasion drinking risk (more than four standard drinks on a single occasion) were similar for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people; around half of drinkers in 2012-2013, drank at levels exceeding the guidelines (52% compared with 45%). However Indigenous people were 1.4 times as likely to drink at levels of ‘high risk’ of short-term harm as non-Indigenous people (37% compared with 27%)(2001 guidelines).

For the five year period 2006-2010 in NSW, Qld, WA, SA and the NT, approximately 3.4% of total Indigenous deaths were related to alcohol use, with the majority of these due to alcoholic liver disease [6].

References

  1. National Health and Medical Research Council (2009) Australian guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol. Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council
  2. Mattson SN, Vaurio L (2009) Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. In: Yeates KO, Ris MD, Taylor HG, Pennington BF, eds. Pediatric neuropsychology : research, theory and practice. 2nd ed. New York: Guilford Press: 265-296
  3. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2011) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health performance framework 2010: detailed analyses. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
  4. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2011) 2010 National Drug Strategy Household Survey report. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
  5. Australian Bureau of Statistics (2013) Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health survey: first results, Australia, 2012-13: Table 14 Alcohol consumption - Short-term or Single occasion risk by age, Indigenous status and sex [data cube]. Retrieved 27 November 2013 from http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/subscriber.nsf/log?openagent&table%2014%20alcohol%20consumption%20-%20sh-term%20or%20single%20occ%20risk%20-age,%20indigenous%20status,%20sex,%202012-13%20-%20australia.xls&4727.0.55.001&Data%20Cubes&0E985E680C399BF7CA257C2F
  6. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2013) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health performance framework 2012: detailed analyses. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
 
Last updated: 25 September 2014
 
Return to top