Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are less likely to drink alcohol than other Australians. But those that do drink are more likely than other Australians to: drink at dangerous levels – both over a lifetime and on a single occasion. go to hospital for alcohol-related conditions such as liver disease.
Resistance to imposed controls. Control forced on Aboriginal nations (e.g. the Northern Territory Intervention) is met with resistance. Social tension. Alcohol serves as a way to escape tensions and frustrations resulting from poverty, unemployment, discrimination, racism, boredom or dislocation.
Alcohol is a major cause of mortality and disease worldwide  and can be particularly damaging to Indigenous peoples who have been colonised [2, 3]. In Australia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ('Indigenous Australian') communities have identified risky drinking as a concern [4, 5].
Until the 1960s, an old colonial policy prohibited Australian Aboriginals from purchasing alcohol anywhere in Australia. Individual Australian states repealed the alcohol ban for Aboriginals in 1964 and 1965.
Not until 1964 were Aborigines in Western Australia and the Northern Territory granted the right to drink liquor, and the prohibition on supplying liquor to Aborigines in South Australia remained until 1967 (D'Abbs 1987; McCorquodale 1984).
Drinking is arguably a big part of Australian culture. In Australia, it's strongly connected to social situations; you'll struggle to find a party or gathering that doesn't have alcohol in one form or another. It's common to go out for drinks to relax after work, or to celebrate over a toast with friends and family.
In the past, Aboriginal people tapped the trees to allow the sap, resembling maple syrup, to collect in hollows in the bark or at the base of the tree. Ever-present yeast would ferment the liquid to an alcoholic, cider-like beverage that the local Aboriginal people referred to as Way-a-linah.
Alcohol is an intrinsic part of Australian culture and it plays a central role in most people's social lives. Heavy drinking is seen as acceptable in almost all social situations, from weddings to sports matches, and even at funerals or baby showers.
All the countries with complete bans on alcohol (Libya, Kuwait, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen) are majority Muslim. Because it is banned in the Quran, many Muslim countries tend to take a dim view of drinking even if they don't ban it outright for everyone.
Illicit substance use
Marijuana was the most common substance used, followed by amphetamines or speed. More than half (51%) of Indigenous males reported that they had ever used illicit substances compared with 36% of Indigenous females.
Some research suggests that Aboriginal youth may be particularly susceptible to excessive drinking . These high rates of excessive drinking have many negative consequences for Aboriginal communities. For example, death related to alcohol use disorders is higher for Aboriginal people than for other ethnic groups .
It may be traced back to times when European settlers introduced and used modern alcohol as a means to ply Indian populations.
Surprisingly, there are a number of accounts of alcohol use among other American Indians and Alaska Natives. Beverages were limited to wine and beer, and included: balche, pulque, and "haren a pitahaya" wines, tulpi beer and other beverages.
Belarus, a country that drinks the most liters of pure alcohol than any other country in the world, was also classified as having one the riskiest pattern of drinking.
Men are far more likely to drink heavily than women, with 42% of men reporting heavy drinking levels compared to 25% of women.
La Trobe University researchers have found the heaviest drinking 10 per cent of Australians drink over half the alcohol consumed in Australia, downing an average of six standard drinks per day.
Australia: An ABC News article published in 2018 described lemon, lime, and bitters (LLB) as "Australia's national drink". Lemon, lime, and bitters is a mixed drink made with (clear) lemonade, lime cordial, and Angostura bitters. The lemonade is sometimes substituted with soda water or lemon squash.
Australia was above the OECD average for litres per capita of alcohol available for consumption by people aged 15 and over, at 9.5 compared with 8.4 litres per capita in 2021 (OECD 2022).
Alcohol is served in many social and recreational situations, and its use is often encouraged. While drinking alcohol is often seen as intrinsic to Australian culture, the effects associated with over-consumption don't just affect the individual, but also the wider national community.
The youngest legal drinking age in the world is 15, with both Mali and the Central African Republic allowing folks to drink at that time. Seven countries do not have a government-mandated drinking age, while 11 countries ban the consumption of booze entirely.
The rate of exceeding the lifetime alcohol risk guidelines was higher for Indigenous males than Indigenous females (28% and 10%) and higher in Non-remote areas than Remote areas (19% and 16%) (Table D2.