Drug and alcohol information for PDHPE students

This guide takes you to key eresources, books and information about drugs and alcohol for PDHPE students.



Alcohol is a depressant. The alcohol that people drink is ethyl alcohol (there are other kinds, all very poisonous). It is made from a mixture of yeast and water, fermented with grains, vegetables or fruits. The fermentation process changes natural sugars into alcohol. Beer and whisky are made from grains, wine and brandy from grapes, vodka from potatoes, cider from apples, and rum from sugar, to name just a few of the most popular alcoholic drinks. .

Alcohol concentration varies considerably with the type of drink. In Australia, beer contains 0.9 to 6% alcohol, wine 12 to 14%, fortified wines such as sherry and port around 18 to 20%, and spirits such as scotch, rum, bourbon and vodka 40 to 50%.

People have been drinking alcohol for tens of thousands of years, as part of various religious ceremonies, as a painkiller, and for socialisation and fun. It is the most commonly used and socially acceptable recreational drug in Australia.

Drug facts

Use the following websites to find information about specific drugs, including their long and short term effects, how they are used, legal status and information on mixing drugs.

A quick guide to drugs and alcohol

Statistics on drug use - alcohol

Use these websites and publications to find statistical information about drugs and alcohol.

Journal articles

Journal articles are a good source of explanations and discussions of drug and alcohol issues.  There are several eresources with links to journal articles available in the State Library.

Further reading

Standard drinks

  • A standard drink contains 10 grams of pure alcohol.
  • Alcoholic drinks which are purchased often contain more than one standard drink.
  • Labels on alcoholic beverages display the amount of standard drinks and alcohol content (%) each specific drink contains.

Find out more about standard drinks on the Drug Info website.

How are standard drinks calculated?

The formula for calculating standard drinks is:

Volume of Container in Litres multiplied by the percentage of alcohol volume multiplied by 0.789, equals the number of standard drinks

0.789 is the specific gravity of ethyl alcohol

For example one stubbie of 375ml of full strength beer 5% alcohol by volume:

0.375 multiplied by 5 multiplied by 0.789 equals 1.5 standard drinks

0.375 X 5 X 0.789 = 1.5 standard drinks

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