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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Reducing your risks from drinking alcohol

New Zealand has a binge drinking culture. This means that many people accept harmful patterns of drinking as normal. But this doesn't change that fact that our bodies can only cope with a certain amount of alcohol before it starts to cause us problems.

No level of drinking can completely remove the risks of alcohol-related harm. But changing the way you drink may reduce the risks to you, your whānau (family) and your community.

Lower-risk drinking is considered to be no more than:

This is shown in the following graphic from the Health Promotion Agency.

If you're an older person, you should probably drink less than this. See Alcohol & older people for more information.

A standard drink

A standard drink is smaller than many people expect. In New Zealand, it's a drink that contains 10 grams of pure alcohol. Drinks poured at home or in a bar tend to be more than one standard drink.

When you shouldn't drink

You shouldn't drink if you:

Finding out how high-risk your drinking is

You can find out more about your drinking and whether you have a problem by doing this test.

Cutting down on drinking alcohol

Cutting down isn't easy. But you aren't alone. There are lots of ways you can start making changes now. Some ideas are:

See Helping myself with my alcohol or drug addiction.

  HealthInfo recommends the following pages

Written by Health in All Policies Advisor, Community & Public Health, Canterbury DHB. Adapted by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed March 2023.


See also:

Alcohol in pregnancy

Alcohol poisoning

Alcohol use in teens & young adults

Page reference: 358452

Review key: HIAAD-16539