Facts and research

What is Alcohol?

Alcohol is the most widely used mood-changing
recreational drug in Australia, with 90% of the
population aged 14 years or over having drunk
it at some time during their life.

The active drug in all alcoholic drinks is ethanol.
This drug is produced as a result of the fermenta-
tion of grains (beer or whisky), fruits (wine or
cider) and vegetables such as potatoes (vodka)
changing sugars into ethyl alcohol.

Alcohol is often mistakenly believed to be a
stimulant. This is because drinking a small
amount of alcohol may initially reduce tension
or inhibitions, making one feel more relaxed
or excited.

In fact, alcohol is a depressant drug that acts
to slow down the central nervous system and
inhibits many of the brain’s functions, affecting
almost all the body’s cells and systems.
Increasing alcohol levels in the body slows
down a person’s reflexes and rapidly
makes judgement, coordination and
balance more difficult.

To learn more about alcohol and its effects, please download the factsheet or listen to Professor Ian Hickie, Executive Director of the Brain and Mind Research Institute at the University of Sydney. Download resource »
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Alcohol information and facts
About the book
  • “It Couldn't Happen To Me”
    A Stage 4 and 5 alcohol education
    resource narrative illustrating the
    dangers and effects of drugs
    and alcohol. Learn more »
  • Get the Narrative
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    “It Couldn't Happen To Me”
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  • Teaching and
    Learning Ideas

    Teaching and learning
    ideas for the narrative
    “It Couldn't Happen To Me”
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