Drug and alcohol information for older people

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

Older people and alcohol

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.

Learn more about alcohol, including information on its effects, alcohol and the law and treatment on Drug Info's About alcohol page.

Read more

  • Australian alcohol guidelines - the Australian alcohol guidelines inform Australians of the health risks of drinking alcohol and provide advice on how to keep these risks low. 
  • Standard drinks - learn more about standard drinks, the measure of alcohol used to work out safe drinking levels.
  • Get Healthy information and coaching service - a free, confidential telephone-based service which helps people make lifestyle changes regarding healthier living.

Alcohol and prescription drugs

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.

Read more

  • A to Z of drugs - information about a range of different drugs, including the effects on people who use them, drugs in relation to the law and treatment options. 
  • What are drugs? - an overview on the types of drugs included in Drug Info and some of the key concepts discussed in alcohol and other drug information.
  • Drugs and the law - in NSW, it is an offence to possess, use, produce or supply a drug which has been declared prohibited. Find out more about drug laws in NSW on the Drugs and the law page.

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.

Read more about laws relating to driving under the influence of alcohol and other drugs on our Alcohol, drugs and driving in NSW page.

Finding help and support

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

  • Getting help - Find information about where to find support and treatment services in NSW.
  • Safescript NSW - SafeScript NSW provides real-time information to eligible health practitioners about a patient’s prescription history for certain high-risk medicines to support clinical decision making and patient safety.