Drug and alcohol information for older people

Learn about drug and alcohol issues affecting older people and where to get help

Alcohol is the most common drug used by older people. Older people in Australia are less likely to binge drink, but are the most likely age groups to be daily drinkers.  

As people age they become more susceptible to the effects of alcohol. They will become more intoxicated and impaired at lower doses and be at greater risk of harmful physical effects and accidents, particularly falls. Harmful interactions between alcohol and multiple medications are of particular concern in older people.  

About alcohol

Alcohol is a drug that acts as a depressant and slows down the brain and nervous system.

Australian alcohol guidelines

The Australian Alcohol Guidelines provide information for Australians on reducing risks to health from drinking alcohol.

Standard drinks

A 'standard drink' is the measure of alcohol used to work out safe drinking levels.

Get Healthy information and coaching service

NSW Health runs a free telephone coaching service to help people who want to reduce their alcohol consumption.

What are the dangers of mixing alcohol and medications?

Using alcohol at the same time as any other drug can be dangerous. This includes drinking alcohol while taking prescribed medications and over-the-counter medications, and with some herbal preparations. One drug can make the negative effects of the other even worse. Alcohol can also stop medicines from working properly.  

A to Z of Drugs

An alphabetical listing of common drugs and their street names.

What are drugs?

What are drugs and what are their effects on people who use them?

Drugs and the law

Find out about the law in New South Wales relating to drugs, including possession, use and supply, manufacturing, importing and exporting.

Alcohol, drugs and driving

It is against the law to drive under the influence of alcohol or any illicit drug. The amount of alcohol that can be consumed before a person reaches the legal limit varies considerably from one person to another, and for the same person in different circumstances. There is also a range of offences relating to refusal or failure to submit to a roadside breath testing, providing blood samples and for interfering with samples, set out in Schedule 3 to the Road Transport Act.

Alcohol, drugs and driving in NSW

Find information about the effects of alcohol, in particular  blood alcohol concentration or B.A.C, on driving.

Find help and support

Find information about support or treatment options for alcohol and other drugs.

Getting help

Links to services and agencies that can assist people needing treatment, information, advice, referral and support. 

Safescript NSW

Safescript NSW is a program from NSW Health designed to improve the safe use of high-risk medicines