25 September 2023

ICIC water tests smoke out drug usage

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The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) has released the findings of its latest survey of waste water across the nation measuring the estimated use of illegal drugs.

According to ACIC’s National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program, Australia ranks second behind the United States for stimulant consumption, specifically its use of MDMA, cocaine, amphetamine and methylamphetamine.

Chief Executive of the ACIC, Michael Phelan (pictured) said much of the harm Australians suffered at the hands of organised crime was due to the trade in illicit substances.

“Transnational serious and organised crime groups profit from importing, trafficking, manufacturing and selling drugs,” Mr Phelan said.

“Wastewater analysis provides a measure of the demand for a range of drugs. This allows Governments to effectively direct resources to priority areas and monitor the progress of demand and supply reduction strategies.”

He said that by using wastewater data from August 2016 to August 2017, it was estimated that more than 8.3 tonnes of methylamphetamine was consumed in Australia each year, as well as more than three tonnes of cocaine, 1.2 tonnes of MDMA and more than 700 kilograms of heroin.

For the first time the report includes a breakdown of these national estimates to the State and Territory level.

Mr Phelan said there had been an overall decrease in the population-weighted average consumption of many of the drugs. Nationally, nicotine and alcohol remained the highest consumed substances of those tested.

However, there had been an increase in fentanyl consumption, particularly in regional sites.

ACIC’s 79-page report can be accessed at this PS News link.

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