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Aussies consume more illicit drugs than alcohol or smokes

9News.com.au logo 9News.com.au 17/06/2019 9News Staff

Australians are indulging more in illicit drugs on average than drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes, a new report has claimed.

The National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program found while alcohol and nicotine continue to be the most consumed drugs in the country, there is a concerning rise in use of MDMA and methylamphetamine in both capital cities and regional areas.

The report also found the consumption of MDMA in both capital and city sites and heroin in capital cities increased to the highest levels recorded by the program.

Wastewater data is used with other data sources to obtain an understanding of drug markets nationally and in the states and territories.

The report, commissioned by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, found stimulant consumption in Australia continues to be driven primarily by methylamphetamine.

a screenshot of a cell phone: Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission snapshot 2019. © Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission snapshot 2019.

“Of the 25 countries with comparable data, Australia rank second highest for total estimated stimulant consumption,” the report, released today, said.

“When comparing the individual stimulant drugs, Australia ranks second for methylamphetamine and MDMA, with relatively low cocaine consumption.”

The report found methylamphetamine use in South Australia and Western Australia were the highest in the nation, but a rising trend was evident in many regional parts of the country.

“Regional levels were on average higher than in the capital cities. The scale of use in the Northern Territory was below the national averages,” the report said.

a close up of food: File images of MDMA (top left) and MDMA tablets seized by Australian police. © AAP File images of MDMA (top left) and MDMA tablets seized by Australian police.

MDMA usage was relatively low across most areas, but the report noted a spike at many regions nationwide.

Meanwhile, cocaine consumption remains mostly centred in New South Wales, particularly in Sydney. Regional South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia ranked the lowest in terms of national consumption.

The report also found a spike in consumption of pharmaceutical substances oxycodone and fentanyl across Tasmania and regional Victoria.

a close up of a logo: Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission snapshot 2019. © Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission snapshot 2019.

The lowest regions for oxycodone consumption was in Northern Territory and Western Australia.

Fentanyl consumption has been increasing in several regions, particularly Victoria and Tasmania and many regional parts of the country, according to the report.

“Consumption of heroin varied widely, with minimal amounts detected in the Northern Territory and many regional areas of other states. The highest levels were recorded in capital city sites in Victoria,” the report found.

a screenshot of a cell phone: Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission snapshot 2019. © Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission snapshot 2019.

The report found Australia’s highest areas for cannabis consumption is Tasmania, regional South Australia and the Northern Territory. Use of the drug was relatively low in NSW and Victoria.

Fifty wastewater treatment plants across Australia were involved in the December 2018 collection.

The University of Queensland and University of South Australia have been commissioned to provide drug consumption data to the ACIC since August 2016.

Wastewater treatment sites have been assessed, bimonthly in the case of capital city sites and every four months for regional sites.

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