Law enforcement’s impact on the meth market

The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) has today released a report showing large seizures of methylamphetamine have a demonstrable impact on consumption in Australia.

The Methylamphetamine supply reduction—measures of effectiveness report is the first time the ACIC has overlaid consumption data derived from the National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program (NWDMP) with other illicit drug indicator data. Comparing these datasets allows a more nuanced understanding of the relationship between supply and consumption within the Australian methylamphetamine market.

Available data demonstrate the onset of any decrease in consumption following a significant seizure is not immediate; it takes between one and three months to take effect and usually lasts between two and four months.

ACIC CEO Michael Phelan APM said the market for methylamphetamine in Australia is robust and resilient, with data from our NWDMP indicating methylamphetamine consumption vastly exceeds that of cocaine, heroin and MDMA.

“The report shows there is a pattern of declining capital city methylamphetamine consumption following one or more significant seizures. This indicates law enforcement is having a direct impact on the market,” said Mr Phelan.

“Supply reduction is most effective at a national level when directed towards disrupting the wholesale methylamphetamine market given large individual seizures have a greater impact on consumption than multiple smaller seizures.

“However, domestic production of methylamphetamine in clandestine laboratories remains a critical factor which contributes to the resilience of Australia’s market and remains a major concern for law enforcement agencies.”

“It further stresses the importance of law enforcement and health agencies working together to combat illicit drugs in Australia through a concurrent focus on supply, demand and harm reduction activities.”

This report further demonstrates the benefits of the National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program and the value of overlaying wastewater data with other indicators to better understand illicit drug markets in Australia.

The report is available on the ACIC website.