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9 October 2018

Wastewater results show fentanyl use on the rise in Queensland

Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission

The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission has today released the fifth report of the National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program, revealing an increase in fentanyl consumption nationally. Average consumption in capital city and regional sites in Queensland increased in April 2018 and are the highest levels recorded since the program commenced.

Queensland also reported the second highest average regional consumption of cocaine nationally.

Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission Chief Executive Officer, Mr Michael Phelan APM said: “The National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program is the first of its kind in Australia, providing leading-edge, coordinated national research and intelligence on illicit and licit drugs.

“The program provides law enforcement, policy, regulatory and health agencies additional and more objective data on the use of methylamphetamine and 11 other drugs.

“This creates opportunities to shape the response to both the demand and the supply side of the illicit drug market, particularly in high-use areas.

The fourth report provided conservative estimates of the weight of methylamphetamine, cocaine, MDMA and heroin consumed nationally in a year using wastewater data collected between
August 2016 and August 2017. In this report we have included a breakdown of these estimates to the state and territory level.

“We estimate that 1,277.9 kilograms of methylamphetamine is consumed in Queensland each year, as well as 323.8 kilograms of cocaine, 223.3 kilograms of MDMA and 75.7 kilograms of heroin,” Mr Phelan said.

Forty-seven wastewater sites were monitored nationally, covering 54.8 per cent of Australia’s population—around 12.8 million people.

“On a national level, alcohol and nicotine remain the highest-consumed substances and methylamphetamine continues to be the most consumed illicit drug tested,” Mr Phelan said.

There were 11 sites monitored in Queensland in April 2018—three capital city sites and eight regional sites.

The National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program found that, compared to December 2017, of the substances tested in April 2018 in Queensland:

  • Nicotine and alcohol remain the highest consumed substances.
  • Average methylamphetamine consumption increased in capital city sites and decreased in regional sites.
  • Average cocaine consumption decreased in capital city and regional sites.
  • Average MDMA consumption decreased in capital city and regional sites.
  • Average MDA consumption decreased in capital city and regional sites.
  • Average oxycodone consumption increased in capital city sites and decreased in regional sites.
  • Average fentanyl consumption increased in capital city and regional sites.
  • Average heroin consumption decreased in capital city and regional sites.

The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission received $3.6 million over three years from Proceeds of Crime funding for the National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program. The University of Queensland and the University of South Australia have been commissioned to deliver the program and prepare the research findings.

The full report is available on the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission website: www.acic.gov.au

Last updated
9 October 2018