Cheers to a healthier and safer festive season

7 December 2021

With the holidays just around the corner, the Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF) and COORDINARE have some tried and true survival tips for South Eastern NSW residents as part of their ‘Take the guesswork out of drinking’ campaign.

ADF Chief Executive Officer, Dr Erin Lalor AM said it’s important to take care when celebrating long-overdue reunions this festive season especially after another year of COVID restrictions.

“Many people will be celebrating and catching up with family and friends after a long, tough period of separation,” Dr Lalor said.

“If you’re planning to make up for lost time with a few drinks, understanding the national drinking guidelines is an easy way of staying on top of how much ‘a few’ drinks actually look like.

“It’s also a good idea to eat before and during socialising, choose low alcohol drinks, alternate alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic drinks and decide before going out how many drinks you’ll have - and stick to it,” she added.

COORDINARE and the ADF are working together to promote the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) drinking guidelines in the South Eastern NSW region.

The NHMRC drinking guidelines provide clear recommendations to help stay within safer drinking limits.

To reduce the risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury, stick to no more than 10 standard drinks a week and no more than 4 standard drinks on any one day.

As part of the ADF and COORDINARE joint campaign, locals can take a quick online quiz to test their drinking knowledge. Learn more at

COORDINARE’s CEO, Dianne Kitcher, said the campaign encouraging people to follow national drinking guidelines during the festive season and beyond will help keep people safer, and combat high rates of alcohol-related hospitalisations in South Eastern NSW.

“South Eastern NSW has the sixth-highest rate of alcohol-related hospitalisations in NSW , with one in five people in the region engaging in high-risk alcohol consumption,” she explained.

“By joining forces with the Alcohol and Drug Foundation to raise awareness of safer drinking guidelines, we aim to turn this trend around and support our communities to prevent further alcohol-related harm, especially during the festive season and into the New Year.”

On top of following NHMRC guidelines, tips for people celebrating with a few drinks these holidays include:

  • Don’t drive or swim. If you’re drinking alcohol, the safest option is not to swim or drive. If you’re heading out, assign a designated driver or pre-organise alternative transport home, such as a rideshare or taxi.
  • Set a drinking limit and stick to it. Avoid drinking in rounds and letting others top up your glass - you may lose track of how many drinks you’ve had.
  • Keep hydrated and out of the sun. Drink water or other non-alcoholic drinks between alcoholic beverages. If you’re drinking alcohol in the daytime, remember to use lots of sunscreen and keep in the shade, as drinking can increase your risk of sunburn.
  • Don’t consume alcohol on an empty stomach. Eat food before and while drinking to slow the absorption of alcohol in your body.
  • Get up and move. Keep yourself (and your hands) busy to help reduce the amount of alcohol you’re consuming, for example: play charades, throw a frisbee or play pool.

Drinking guidelines also recommend anyone under the age of 18 should not drink any alcohol to help prevent injury and other harm to their health, including impacts on the developing brain and riskier drinking levels when they are older.

“Some parents may be tempted to allow their kids to drink over the holidays, but we recommend sticking to the guidelines,” Dr Lalor said.

“We wish everyone in South Eastern NSW a happy, safe and healthy holiday period, especially after enduring another difficult year.”

For more information about the alcohol guidelines and see what a standard drink looks like, click here

For free and confidential alcohol and drug information or support, we encourage people to visit the ADF website or call the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s Drug Info line on 1300 85 85 84.

The non-judgmental service provides the facts about alcohol and other drugs, advice on how to support loved ones, and connects people with relevant health and support services in their state and territory.

The ADF’s quick online quiz is a great way to test people’s drinking knowledge. Learn more at

For more information bout local support services and helpful resources please click here.

Community, COORDINARE news, Drug and alcohol, Media release