Alcohol and Drug Statistics


Consumption of alcohol and other drugs can negatively impact on human cognitive function and performance. This represents a potential risk for workplace safety. Other effects on the workplace include absenteeism, injury and increased workers compensation claims.

  • 6.6% of Australians attend work under the influence of alcohol and 10.2% admit to consuming alcohol at work.

(Australian Drug & Alcohol Foundation)

  • 17% of workers use illegal drugs.
Hospitality 31% 7.7%
Construction 24.1% 3.1%
Retail 20.7% 3.1%
Transport 18.3% 3.2%
Administration 12.3% 1.6%
Mining 12% 1%

(Flinders University – National Household Survey)

  • An average of 3.9% of workers missed at least one work day over a 3 month period.  Tradespersons averaged 6.8%, while professionals were 3.1%
  • Results indicated that those who drank more than 10 standard alcoholic drinks per week were approximately 1.3 times more likely than abstainers to have had a workers’ compensation claim during the five-year period.

(NCETA – Alcohol and the Workplace)

Drugs and alcohol in the workplace

Health - Integrity Sampling - drug and alcohol testing providers


Health records show over a ten year period an estimated 31,000 Australians die from the effects of risky and high risk alcohol use.  More than half (53.8%) die from causes related to drinking to intoxication (e.g. road injury, drowning). Similarly, an estimated 575,000 hospitalisations due to risky or high risk drinking, are mostly injuries caused by intoxication.

The health effects extend to problems with the brain, liver, heart and other vital organs. Some cancers are a direct result of alcohol misuse.

Approximately 81,000 people are hospitalised annually.

  • It is estimated that about 3200 people die annually as a result of excessive alcohol consumption.

(National Alcohol Strategy 2006-2009)

  • Alcohol is a significant contributor to premature death and hospitalisation among older Australians — among 65-74-year-olds, almost 600 die every year from injury and disease caused by drinking above the National Health and Medical Research Council 2001 guideline levels, and a further 6,500 are hospitalised.

(National Health and Medical Research Council)

  • 51% of alcohol consumed is drunk at levels that pose a risk of short-term harm.
  • Over 450,000 children (13.2%) live in households where they are at risk of exposure to binge drinking by at least one adult.

(Drug & Alcohol Services South Australia, 2006)

  • Alcohol is the second largest cause of drug-related deaths and hospitalisations in Australia (after tobacco).
  • Drinking heavily over a long period of time can cause harm to a person’s brain and liver functioning and contribute to depression, relationship difficulties and hence quality of life.
  • Drinking heavily can increase the risk of developing cancer, cirrhosis of the liver, cognitive problems, dementia and alcohol dependence (NHMRC 2001).
  • High risk consumption of alcohol is strongly associated with oral, throat and oesophageal cancer (AIHW 2005a).
  • Drinking alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer among females (Ridolfo and Stevenson, 1998).
  • In 2004-05, 16% of males with risky/high risk levels of alcohol consumption reported having hypertension, compared with 13% males with low alcohol consumption levels (after adjusting for age differences).

(Australian Bureau of Statistics)
Community - Integrity Sampling - drug and alcohol testing providers


Current research warns Australian’s use of alcohol and illegal drugs is more prevalent than at any time in our history. The effects of this are far reaching.

  • Australians are the world’s highest users of Methamphetamine stimulants!

(World Drug Report 2010)

  • The proportion of people drinking at a risky/high risk level has increased over the past three National Health Surveys, from 8.2% in 1995 to 10.8% in 2001 and 13.4% in 2004-05 (after adjusting for age differences)

(Australian Bureau of Statistics)

  • The cost to the Australian community of alcohol-related social problems was estimated to be $15.3 million in 2004/05.

(National Alcohol Strategy 2006-2009)

  • Greater than 20% of Australians drink alcohol at levels deemed risky to high risk of harm.
  • 9% drink alcohol daily including 14 year olds and above.
  • 31% of Australians aged 18-29 years admit to using illegal drugs.

(Australian Drug & Alcohol Foundation)

  • One-quarter (25.4%) of Australians aged 14 years or older had been verbally abused and 4.5% had been physically abused by someone under the influence of alcohol.

(The 2007 National Drug Strategy Household Survey)

  • Nearly one in two adults (49.0%) aged 16–64 years had used ‘any drugs’ for recreational purposes in their lifetime. The majority of these people had used cannabis, with 46.4% of all people aged 16–64 years having used cannabis in their lifetime.
  • Alcohol-related harm continues to be a social and health issue in New Zealand. Some of the most common harmful effects experienced by people in the past year due to their own alcohol use were harmful effects on their friendships or social life (7%), having had days off work or school (6%) and injuring themselves (5%).

(New Zealand Alcohol and Drug  Use Survey)

Drugs and alcohol in the community