IF you thought it was OK to have two standard drinks a day, think again.
The National Health and Medical Research Council has released its revised guidelines in 10 years on reducing health risks from drinking alcohol.
Experts warn of alcohol consumption and its strengthening links to chronic illnesses, such as cancer, and recommends that people should not consume more than 10 standard drinks per week, equating to 1.4 drinks a day.
But, new research by Victoria University's Mitchell Institute revealed people in regional NSW will be drinking at risky levels at a greater rate than their city counterparts.
In Wagga, 19.8 per cent of the population are drinking at risky rates compared to Byron Shire, which produced the highest rate of 31.6 per cent.
Riverina Police District Superintendent Bob Noble said there are many incentives for people to drink during this time of year.
"People drink in a variety of settings, such as at home, with a meal, at work parties, at friend's houses and on Christmas day," he said.
"Excessive alcohol consumption increases the risk of assault.
"We just encourage people to exercise personal responsibility ... quite often excessive drinking lends itself to a bad outcome."
Superintendent Noble said everyone is at risk and this issue is not unique to country areas.
"Firstly, people should plan out their night. I encourage people to plan it in reverse and how you are going to get home," he said.
"You've got a better chance of getting yourself home when it's planned.
"There's less chance of placing yourself at risk as an offender or victim of assault."
Mitchell Institute's Professor Rosemary Calder said government programs that promote safe drinking and healthcare supports should be targeted into communities that need it the most.
"... a culture of drinking plays the biggest factor in risky drinking rates and alcohol prices are also influencing drinking patterns," she said.
"We need to focus on getting effective information and supports for reducing alcohol consumption in regional communities."
The Murrumbidgee Local Health District has a range of services to support community members, such as advice, alcohol counselling and home detox.
The Prevent Alcohol and Risk-Related Trauma in Youth is a program that is designed to educate youth about the consequences of alcohol and risk-related behaviours.
Held at the Wagga Base Hospital, the program is seeking sponsors to ensure it can be run on an ongoing basis.
"The PARTY program is about prevention and awareness ... it's about learning from real people and their very real experiences," said, PARTY coordinator and emergency nurse, Amy Talbot.