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26 March 2017

South Australia wastewater drug monitoring findings

Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission

The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission has today released the first National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program Report, revealing some of the highest methylamphetamine levels nationally were seen at South Australian sites.

Eight sites across South Australia were measured as part of the National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program.

Levels of methylamphetamine consumption at both capital city and regional sites in South Australia were above the respective national average levels. Average consumption measured at South Australian capital city sites exceeded average consumption measured at its regional sites, and consumption levels measured at the capital city sites was the second highest for capital cities across Australia.

Methylamphetamine was the highest consumed illicit drug of those tested across all regions of Australia, with consumption in some areas at historic highs.

“Wastewater analysis has been used to measure drug use in certain parts of South Australia for a number of years, providing the baseline for the National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program to build upon,” Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission CEO Chris Dawson said.

Comparing the latest findings of drug use with previous data for sites in South Australia, current methylamphetamine levels have been consistently increasing and are currently at historic highs.

Synthetic stimulants methylone and mephedrone have also been detected historically in South Australia, with data now suggesting that levels of consumption of both drugs have been declining over the last six years.

“By chemically analysing sewerage water we are able to measure the use of drugs in the community, establishing an objective evidence base on illicit drug use and the level of use of a number of legitimate substances,” Mr Dawson said.

“We already know that serious and organised crime groups are thriving on the profits generated from methylamphetamine and other illicit substances, with the price paid for meth in Australia among the highest in the world.”

“Our Illicit Drug Data Report 2014–15 found that amphetamine-type stimulants like methylamphetamine were the most seized drug in 2014–15 in South Australia, and results from our new report show this problem isn’t going away.”

“Law enforcement partners across Australia are working hard to combat illicit drug supply,” Mr Dawson said.

“It is clear that now more than ever before, we need a whole of government and whole of community response to the demand for illicit drugs in Australia, and the harms to our community,” Mr Dawson said.

The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission received $3.6 million over three years from Proceeds of Crime funding for the National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program, and has commissioned the University of Queensland and the University of South Australia to undertake the program and prepare the first research report containing its findings.

The report is available from the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission website.

Last updated
26 March 2017