Victoria 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 high levels of methylamphetamine are being consumed in Victoria.

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

“Methylamphetamine consumption is a national issue due to the high demand for this illicit substance, and the impact of illicit drug use on our society should not be underestimated.”

“The National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program Report findings provide a baseline that will be built upon in subsequent reports to uncover a national picture of drug consumption,” Mr Dawson said.

The findings also complement the existing datasets on the supply of and demand for drugs in Australia.

“Our Illicit Drug Data Report 2015–16 showed that methylamphetamine was a major national issue, and Victoria is no exception, 37.3 per cent of illicit drug arrests related to amphetamine-type stimulants—the highest proportion reported by any state or territory in 2014–15.

“We know that serious and organised crime is driving supply trends, and there is resilient user demand, so our law enforcement agencies are working hard to combat the supply side of this illicit market.

“The National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program results drive home the need for a whole of government and whole of community response to the demand for illicit drugs in Australia, and the harms brought to our community,” Mr Dawson said.

Alcohol and tobacco were consistently the highest consumed tested substances in all states and territories, with levels of consumption in regional Victoria exceeding consumption in Victorian capital city sites.

The prescription medication oxycodone was detected in all jurisdictions, with consumption in regional Victoria significantly higher than other jurisdictions and the national average.

“We are aware of the diversion of prescription medications such as oxycodone from the legitimate market to the illicit market, however wastewater analysis cannot distinguish between licit and illicit use of these substances,” Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission CEO Chris Dawson said.

“Findings on consumption of oxycodone are a concern for their potential diversion into the illicit drug market, and we will be working with our partners to understand these results as the National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program reveals trends and patterns over time.”

Seven sites across Victoria were included in the National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program.

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.