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November 11, 2010
11/10 ISSUE 71
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Seaworthy is produced by the Directorate of Navy Safety Systems in the interests of promoting
safety in the Navy. The contents do not necessarily reflect Service policy and, unless stated
otherwise, should not be construed as orders, instructions or directives – KEEP NAVY SAFE.
Setting the standard
for low-risk drinking
BOTTOMS UP: How many standard drinks are in your glass or bottle?
HILE alcohol may be
regarded by some as a
‘social lubricant’ it is actu-
ally a central nervous sys-
This means that increasing alco-
hol concentrations in the body inhibit
brain functions, dampening the motor
and sensory centres, impairing coordi-
nation and balance, and slowing your
reflexes and response times to emer-
This is why Navy has to prevent
personnel from working in Safety
Critical Areas or participating in
potentially dangerous activities, while
they have a blood alcohol level of 0.02
or higher – for the safety of them-
selves, their shipmates and the ship.
It is also important to think about
your drinking habits at home. Here are
some facts you may not know about
low-risk drinking habits:
➤ A standard drink contains 10 grams
of pure alcohol. Glass sizes vary
from state to state in Australia, but
labels on alcoholic drink containers
will tell you the number of stand-
ard drinks they contain. By know-
ing this you can keep track of your
➤ A moderate amount of alcohol does
not harm most people; however
there is no guaranteed safe level
of drinking. To reduce the health
risks associated with drinking
alcohol, the National Health and
Medical Research Council advises:
➤ For healthy men and women,
drinking no more than two
standard drinks on any day
reduces your risk of harm from
alcohol-related disease or injury
over a lifetime to one in 100;
➤ Drinking no more than four
standard drinks on a single
occasion reduces the risk of
alcohol-related injury from that
occasion to one in 100.
➤ Alcohol should be avoided alto-
gether if taking other drugs, includ-
ing over-the-counter or prescription
medicines, as the combination can
be dangerous and unpredictable.
➤ Alcohol-related health risks accu-
mulate over a lifetime. This means
the more you drink, the greater the
risk. This risk increases much more
quickly for females. Regular heavy
drinking over time is likely to cause
physical, emotional or social prob-
➤ Liver, heart and brain damage;
➤ Sexual impotence and a
reduction in fertility;
➤ Concentration and short-term
➤ Family and relationship
➤ Poor work performance; and
➤ Legal and financial difficulties.
➤ Damage to body organs can be
➤ It is possible to drink at a level that
is less risky, while still having fun.
LCDR Tony Hayward
and Anna Lewis
with Ms Lewis’
Return to Work Award
in the 2010 Defence
Ms Lewis is a physi-
otherapist from HMAS
Photo: Mark Brennan
Healthy practices include the fol-
➤ Set limits for yourself and stick
➤ Start with a non-alcoholic drink
and alternate with alcoholic
➤ Drink slowly;
➤ Try drinks with a lower alcohol
➤ Eat before or during drinking.
➤ DI(N) PERS 31-50 Alcohol testing
in the ADF.
➤ DI(N) PERS 31-51 Alcohol testing
in the RAN.
➤ DI(N) PERS 31-9 Management
of alcohol and the prevention and
management of alcohol abuse in
Information gathered from www.alcohol.
gov.au, and the Australian guidelines to
reduce health risks from drinking alcohol.
For more information on alcohol use
your can talk to your unit Alcohol and Drug
Program Adviser (ADPA) or GP.
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