Know the Facts

Helping you make informed decisions about your drinking

Alcohol and Your Life

Alcohol and work

The effects of drinking alcohol aren’t just limited to the time when you are drinking it. Hangovers are very common the day after heavy alcohol use, and are associated with a range of negative symptoms such as fatigue, headache, nausea and dizziness, just to name a few. People who go to work with a hangover have a higher risk for injury and poor job performance due to impaired visual and motor skills.
Hangovers have a huge economic impact. Each year, billions of dollars in wages are lost because of missed work and poor job productivity due to hangover symptoms. People who drink at work or come to work drunk or hungover create problems in the workplace due to:

  • Increased risk of injury
  • Impairment in judgement and memory, leading to poor job performance
  • Creating an unsafe environment for co-workers and increasing co-worker workload

These problems could lead to you losing your job.

Alcohol and relationships

Whether you realise it or not, your drinking has impacts on the people around you. Under the effects of alcohol your inhibitions are lower than usual, which could lead to you saying things you wouldn’t normally say. Your emotions also become harder to control, so you may react to something more strongly than you usually would, potentially leading to fights and arguments.
Sometimes the impact of alcohol on relationships can be even more serious. Alcohol use has been linked with increased risk of domestic violence, child abuse, neglect, and family breakdown.

  • Family
    • Children whose parents abuse alcohol are more than four times likelier to be neglected, and almost three times more likely to be sexually assaulted than children of parents who don’t abuse alcohol.
    • Financial difficulties due to losing a job over alcohol use can cause marital and relationship problems.
  • Romantic relationships
    • Alcohol is reported to be a factor in close to half of all physical and sexual assaults against women.
    • Fights or arguments triggered by drinking can lead to separation or divorce.

Alcohol and the law

There are many ways in which alcohol can lead to you getting in trouble with the law. Some of the most common alcohol-related charges are:

Being drunk and disorderly

This can include drinking in a public place, being drunk or creating a disturbance in a licensed venue, and refusing to leave a licensed venue when asked.

Drinking and driving

Drink driving rules vary from state to state, so it is important to be aware of the limits and penalties that apply to your state.

Offences against the person

Pub brawls, fights and domestic violence can lead to assault charges. In some cases, these can even escalate to manslaughter and homicide.

Property offences

Theft, robbery, trespassing and property damage can all be caused by alcohol use, particularly due to impaired judgment.

Getting in trouble with the law because of alcohol is not just costly for you, it takes a huge toll on our economy and resources as well. The costs of alcohol-related crime in 2004-05 were estimated to be $1.7billion, and around 10% of police time is taken up by alcohol-related incidents (the most common being assaults).

Sources

  • Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) (1996) Women’s Safety Australia, Canberra.
  • Collins D.J., & Lapsley H.M. (2007). The costs of tobacco, alcohol and illicit drug abuse to Australian society in 2004/05. Canberra: Department of Health and Ageing.
  • Donnelly, N., et al. (2007). Estimating the short-term cost of police time spent dealing with alcohol-related crime in NSW. Monograph series no. 25. Tasmania: NDLERF.
  • DRUG ARM Australia. (2007). Why worry about alcohol and other drugs in the workplace...for the employee. Online article published by the Drug & Alcohol Information Centre. Accessed 08/02/2012 via http://www.drugarm.com.au/files/pdf/Drugs%20in%20the%20Workplace%20-%20for%20the%20employee%20ltrhd.pdf
  • Levitt, A., & Cooper, M.L. (2010). Daily alcohol use and romantic relationship functioning: Evidence of bidirectional, gender-, and context-specific effects. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 36, 1706-1722.
  • Mullahy, J., Sindelar, J.L. (1991). Gender differences on labor market effects of alcoholism. American Economic Review, 81, 161-165.
  • Stockwell, T. (1998). Towards guidelines for low-risk drinking: Quantifying the short and long-term costs of hazardous alcohol consumption. Alcohol Clinical and Experimental Research, 22, 63S-69S.
  • The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. (1999). No Safe Haven: Children of Substance-Abusing Parents. USA.
  • Wiese, J.G., Shlipak, M.G., & Browner, W.S. (2000). The alcohol hangover. Annals of Internal Medicine, 132, 897-902.