Stay safe when drinking

Whether you are drinking at home or in public, you should drink responsibly and behave in a way that is respectful to the people around you. Some tips/ways to drink safely and responsibly include:

  • count your standard drinks: keep track of how much alcohol you are drinking.
  • drink slowly: take sips and put your glass down between sips. Don't let people top up your drinks, as this makes it hard to keep track of how much alcohol you have consumed.
  • eat before or while you are drinking: if you have a full stomach, alcohol will be absorbed more slowly. Avoid salty snacks, as these make you drink more.
  • avoid 'shouts': drink at your own pace or buy a non-alcoholic drink when it's your turn. Don't be pressured into drinking more than you want or intend to.
  • pace yourself: try having a 'spacer' or a non-alcoholic drink every second or third drink. You will drink much faster if you are thirsty, so start with a non-alcoholic drink.
  • stay busy: if you have something to do, you tend to drink less such as playing pool or dancing.
  • try the low-alcohol alternative: light beers and low alcohol premixed drinks are available.

Drink spiking

Drink spiking happens when alcohol or another substance is added to your drink without you knowing. Drink spiking is illegal and can have serious criminal and health consequences.

Chances are you will not smell, see, or taste any difference to your drink, particularly if it is spiked with alcohol. The warning signs include:

  • feeling dizzy, faint, sick or sleepy
  • feeling drunk, even if you have only had a little alcohol to drink
  • passing out
  • waking up feeling disoriented and sick, with memory blanks about the night before.

More about drink spiking and how to protect yourself.

Traveling safely after drinking

If you are going to drink, plan to not drive. Where possible, separate drinking and driving. Organise a designated driver, a lift, or a cab/ride-share, or public transport to safely get where you are going safely. Or simply stay where you are for the night at a friend's place (Mates' Motel).

Be aware. Alcohol affects your safety when walking on or near the road. The key danger periods are walking between venues, home, to cab ranks or for food.

Easy ways to help keep you and your mates safe are:

  • pre-plan your way home with a designated driver, lift, or enough cash for a taxi/Uber.
  • cross at traffic lights at the appropriate signals rather than attempting to J-walk or trying to race the traffic.
  • walk on footpaths, not roadsides.
  • don't walk while looking at your phone. Keep your attention on the road.
  • help mates get home safely—walk them to their lift, cab, and/or food.