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9 October 2018

Wastewater results show highest nicotine and alcohol use in NT

Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission

The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission has today released the fifth report of the National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program, revealing the Northern Territory reported the highest levels of nicotine and alcohol consumption in capital city and regional sites nationwide.

The Northern Territory also reported the highest average capital city consumption of methylamphetamine and MDMA nationally in April 2018.

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 65.5 kilograms of methylamphetamine is consumed in the Northern Territory each year, as well as 19.5 kilograms of cocaine, 38.2 kilograms of MDMA and 1.1 kilograms of heroin,” Mr Phelan said.

For the firth report, 47 wastewater sites were monitored nationally in April 2018, 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 two sites monitored in the Northern Territory in April 2018—one capital city site and
one regional site.

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

  • Nicotine and alcohol remain the highest consumed substances.
  • Average methylamphetamine consumption increased in the capital city site. Average regional methylamphetamine consumption decreased when compared with previous available regional data for August 2017.
  • Average cocaine consumption decreased in the capital city site. Average regional cocaine consumption has increased when compared with previous available regional data for
    August 2017.
  • Average MDMA consumption decreased in the capital city site. Average regional MDMA consumption has increased when compared with previous available regional data for
    August 2017.
  • Average MDA consumption increased in the capital city site. Average regional MDA consumption decreased when compared with previous available regional data for
    August 2017.
  • Average oxycodone consumption decreased in the capital city site. Average regional oxycodone consumption decreased when compared with previous available regional data for August 2017.
  • Average fentanyl consumption increased in the capital city site. Average regional fentanyl consumption increased when compared with previous available regional data for August 2017.
  • Average heroin consumption remained relatively stable in the capital city site. Average regional heroin consumption remained relatively stable when compared with previous available regional data for August 2017.

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