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17 June 2019

Wastewater results show high levels of alcohol, nicotine and MDA consumption in the Northern Territory

Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission

The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission today released the seventh report of the National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program, revealing the Northern Territory has the highest average capital city and regional consumption of alcohol and nicotine in the country.

Across the two sites monitored in December 2018—one capital city and one regional site—findings also show the Northern Territory has the highest average capital city consumption of MDA and the second highest average capital city consumption of MDMA nationally.

Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission Chief Executive Officer, Mr Michael Phelan APM said the National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program gives valuable insight into the trends and emerging issues of drug consumption across Australia and can identify new sources of threat.

 “The Australian community continues to consume illicit drugs at concerning levels and the National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program is providing an important, unified and consistent guiding tool for developing holistic drug responses,” Mr Phelan said.

“We are only now starting to realise the full benefits of the ongoing program.”

The National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program found that, compared to August 2018, of the substances tested in December 2018 in the Northern Territory:

  • average nicotine consumption decreased in both capital city and regional sites
  • average alcohol consumption decreased in both capital city and regional sites
  • average methylamphetamine consumption increased in capital city sites and decreased in regional sites
  • average cocaine consumption decreased in both capital city and regional sites
  • average MDMA consumption increased in both capital city and regional sites
  • average MDA consumption increased in capital city sites and remained relatively stable in regional sites
  • average oxycodone consumption increased in capital city sites and decreased in regional sites
  • average fentanyl consumption decreased in both capital city and regional sites
  • average heroin consumption remained relatively stable in both capital city and regional sites
  • average cannabis consumption decreased in both capital city and regional sites.

In 2019, the National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program received an additional $4.8 million to fund a further four years of the program. The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission will continue to develop its potential over the coming years and deliver three reports per annum.

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

Note to editors

In accordance with current wastewater analysis conventions, the terms of the contract, and to protect the integrity of the program, the exact locations are not able to be publicly released by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission. To maintain the confidentiality of the participating site, each site was allocated a unique code to de-identify their results, however trends in particular states and territories are still able to be identified.

Last updated
17 June 2019