Cocaine being snorted off a mirror on a dinner plate with rolled $50 note. NSW / Drug Use Generic
Cocaine being snorted off a mirror on a dinner plate with rolled $50 note. NSW / Drug Use Generic

Water testing reveals what drugs we’re using

COCAINE and MDMA use has more than doubled in Queensland over the past three years while methamphetamine consumption jumped 76 per cent, according to a new report.

The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission's latest round of wastewater drug monitoring, released today, showed Australia's per capita use of cocaine and heroin were highest in capital cities.

Regional centres recorded higher per capita use of nicotine, alcohol, cannabis, methamphetamine and oxycodone.

Tests were conducted in April and August 2019, concluding the program's third year of results and highlighting shifting trends in illicit and legal drug use across the country since 2016.

Methamphetamine was Australia’s most consumed illicit drug in the most recent round of testing under a wastewater drug monitoring program.
Methamphetamine was Australia’s most consumed illicit drug in the most recent round of testing under a wastewater drug monitoring program.

Queensland recorded the nation's largest spike in annual MDMA consumption over the past three years and the second biggest jump in cocaine and methamphetamine use.

Cocaine consumption jumped 123 per cent from an estimated 319kg in 2016-17 to 714kg in 2018-19.

Western Australia recorded a 150 per cent rise in cocaine consumption over the same period.

The rise in MDMA use was even steeper at 132 per cent as consumption spiked from 216kg in 2016-17 to 502kg in 2018-19.

Consumption of methamphetamine, which was Australia's most consumed measurable illicit drug, jumped from 1278kg to 2248kg in Queensland over the same period.

ACIC chief executive officer Michael Phelan said Australians spent an estimated $8.63 billion consuming 11.5 tonnes of methamphetamine in the year to August 2019 and a further $2.67 billion combined on cocaine, MDMA and heroin.

Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission boss Michael Phelan says wastewater drug monitoring has revealed Australians consumed more than 11 tonnes of methamphetamine last year. Picture: Gary Ramage
Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission boss Michael Phelan says wastewater drug monitoring has revealed Australians consumed more than 11 tonnes of methamphetamine last year. Picture: Gary Ramage

"Illicit drugs have a devastating impact on everyday Australians," he said.

"Organised criminals involved in the illicit drug trade prey on our communities to make a profit.

"They don't care about the devastation caused through health and social costs or the drug related crime."

The report also found a surge in oxycodone use in regional Queensland from mid-2018 while fentanyl use seemed to have reached an "apparent peak' in 2017-18 before falling.

Alcohol and nicotine remained the most consumed drugs in Australia over the program's three years.

Between April and August 2019, heroin and oxycodone use increased in the cities while methylamphetamine, cocaine, MDMA, cannabis, fentanyl, nicotine and alcohol consumption decreased.

In the regions, heroin, cannabis and oxycodone use increased while methylamphetamine, cocaine, MDMA, fentanyl, nicotine and alcohol decreased.


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