Alcohol Use: An Introduction to the Cost, Effects and Calculating a Standard Drink


This module is the first in a two-part series that aims to assist health care professionals identify and assist people who misuse alcohol. It examines alcohol misuse as a physical, mental and social issue and a risk factor for preventable disease and death. This module forms the basis of the knowledge required to assist health care professionals to provide professional, evidenced based interventions. In particular, it provides an introduction to the effects of alcohol on the body and explains the basis for calculating how many alcohol units are present in common alcoholic beverages.

It is recommended for anyone working in primary or community health care, or those working in tertiary or secondary facilities where assessment of alcohol use is relevant to care. All of these situations are ideal opportunities for interventions that assist in reducing the risk or preventing risky and dangerous drinking behaviours.

The second module provides instruction on appropriate assessment for alcohol use and recommendations for interventions when an individual is assessed as being at risk of dangerous or risky alcohol use. It provides a useful guide for healthcare professionals on how to provide a brief intervention for those drinking at dangerous levels who may be at risk of harms.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this module participants will be able to:

  • Understand the cost to the community of alcohol misuse..
  • Know how alcohol misuse can harm an individual’s health and well-being.
  • Know how many units of alcohol there are in common alcoholic beverages.
  • Understand what constitutes risky and dangerous levels of alcohol consumption.

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