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Alcohol and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Alcohol use

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
  • racism
  • difficulty finding work
  • stress

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.

    Try to:

    Manage your drinking

    To help you drink more safely, take a look at:

    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.


      AODconnect app

      AODconnect is a national directory of alcohol and other drug treatment services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The app is available on iOS and Android devices.

      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.

      View contact

      eheadspace contact

      eheadspace is a national online and phone support service for young people between 12 and 25. It covers a wide range of topics and issues affecting mental health. Contact them online or by phone from 9am to 1am AEST, every day.

      View contact


      • Strong Spirit Strong Mind — promotes the Aboriginal culture as a strength in reducing alcohol-related harm in Aboriginal communities in Perth
      Last updated: 
      14 May 2019