Drug and alcohol information for PDHPE students

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

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander visitors are kindly advised that this website includes images, sounds and names of people who have passed.

All users should be aware that some topics or historical content may be culturally sensitive, offensive or distressing, and that some images may contain nudity or are of people not yet identified. Certain words, terms or descriptions may reflect the author's/creator's attitude or that of the period in which they were written, but are now considered inappropriate in today's context.

Key to library resources

Access anywhere with a library card In the Library (or anywhere with a Library card for NSW residents)
Available to access in the library Only in the Library
Publicly available online Publicly available



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.

Read more about alcohol here.

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

© Commonwealth of 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.

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

A quick guide to drugs and alcohol

Further information from Drug Info

Visit the Drug Info website for free drug and alcohol information for the community of NSW. Drug Info is a partnership between NSW Ministry of Health and the State Library of NSW.

Respect your brain videos


The Respect Your Brain animated video series is designed for young people. The videos focus on the effects of alcohol, cannabis and MDMA on the developing brain.

Alcohol - Get the Facts video

Two wind glasses

Did you know the effects of alcohol can last longer than a hangover? The video Alcohol - Get the Facts highlights some of the long-term effects, including an increased risk of some cancers, damage to body organs, heart and blood disorders, and work and relationship problems. It also provides sources of more information and where to get help.