This report discusses intentional self-harm and harmful use of alcohol and other drugs.

For urgent crisis help call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or if life is in immediate danger, call 000.

If you, or someone you know, is experiencing crisis, visit your nearest hospital emergency or seek help from these helplines.

Consuming alcohol can increase the risk of injury. This report presents data on injuries where alcohol was recorded as a contributor to an injury event that resulted in hospitalisation or death. It includes injury cases where alcohol may have been wholly responsible for the injury (for example, alcohol poisoning) or partially responsible (such as a fall or intentional self-harm injury). In 2019–20, alcohol-related injuries resulted in just over 30,000 hospitalisations (118 per 100,000 population) and almost 1,950 (7.7 per 100,000 population) deaths. Alcohol-related injury accounted for 5.7% of all hospitalised injuries and 14% of injury deaths among Australians in 2019–20.


In 2019­–20:

  • falls (40%), intentional self-harm (25%), assault (15%) and transport (7%) were the leading causes of alcohol-related injury hospitalisations
  • males were 1.5 times as likely to be hospitalised as females
  • the highest rates of alcohol-related injury hospitalisations were for those aged 45–54
  • one in 4 hospitalisations for intentional self-harm involved alcohol; and 1 in 5 cases of assault involved alcohol
  • over half of alcohol-related injury hospitalisations involved at least one other drug (including pharmaceuticals and tobacco) that was not alcohol
  • among intentional self-harm hospitalisations, over 80% involved poisoning due to drug exposure, including alcohol
  • poisoning or toxic effect (26%) and fractures (22%) were the most common types of injury hospitalisations
  • males were more than 3 times as likely to be hospitalised for an alcohol-related transport injury as females
  • alcohol-related assault rates among Indigenous women aged 25–64 were 1.5 times that of Indigenous men of the same age
  • very remote areas of Australia had the highest rates of alcohol-related injury hospitalisations, over 8 times the national rate and almost 11 times the rate for people living in major city areas. Among 25–44 year olds, the rate in Very remote areas was 17 times that in Major cities.

There was a 0.3% average annual increase in alcohol-related hospitalisations between 2010–11 and 2016–17. There was an annual decrease of 5.2% between 2018–19 and 2019–20, when the COVID-19 pandemic began. The month of April 2020 showed the largest decrease when compared to the same month the year before, with 20% fewer alcohol-related injury hospitalisations than the same month the previous year. This included a 30% decrease for assault injuries, a 26% decrease in transport injuries, a 45% decrease in injuries that occurred in non-residential settings and a 6.7% increase in injuries at home. By June 2020, with the easing of COVID-19-related restrictions, alcohol-related injury hospital admissions had returned to pre-pandemic levels.


In 2019–20:

  • there were almost 1,950 alcohol-related injury deaths
  • nearly 80% of deaths were for males
  • the top three cause groups for alcohol-related injury deaths were suicide (47%), accidental poisoning (26%) and transport (11%).

The alcohol-related injury death rate more than doubled between 2010–11 and 2018–19, increasing from 4.8 to 10.8 deaths per 100,000 population. Deaths decreased by 10% between 2018–19 and 2019–20, the period affected by COVID-19 lockdowns.