Wastewater shows highest cocaine use in NSW


​New South Wales continues to report the highest average cocaine consumption in both capital city and regional sites of all locations tested nationwide, following the release of the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission's sixth National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program report.

Based on the wastewater findings for August 2018, New South Wales also reported the highest regional MDMA and heroin consumption in Australia.

$9.3 Billion spent on four drugs

Using data from the program, more than 9.6 tonnes of methylamphetamine is estimated to be consumed in Australia each year, as well as more than 4 tonnes of cocaine, 1.1 tonnes of MDMA, and more than 700 kilograms of heroin. At street prices, the estimated value of this quantity of drugs for the four drugs is in the region $9.3 billion, underlining the size of the black economy that relates to drugs alone.

wastewater snapshot.PNG

Why test the water?

Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission Chief Executive Officer, Mr Michael Phelan APM said wastewater data increases our understanding of drug consumption in Australia including drug use patterns across states, territories and the nation.

"Cannabis consumption has been included for the first time, showing regional average cannabis consumption exceeded capital city average consumption in August 2018. Its inclusion in the program provides further insight into one of the largest illicit drug markets in Australia," Mr Phelan said.

"On a national level, of the drugs measured by the program with available dose data, alcohol and nicotine remain the highest-consumed substances.

"As the program continues to build long term drug consumption data, fluctuations in consumption are evident. Understanding local drug consumption patterns assists law enforcement, policy, regulatory and health agencies develop targeted supply, demand and harm reduction strategies."

Want to know more about the effects of a particular drug? Head to our A-Z of drugs.

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