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5 April 2018

National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program

Measuring the demand for illicit drugs in Australia

The National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program provides leading-edge, coordinated national research and intelligence on illicit drugs and licit drugs that can be abused, with a specific focus on methylamphetamine and other substances.

Wastewater analysis is widely applied internationally as a tool to measure and interpret drug use within national populations. The Australian Government has recognised the considerable benefits of wastewater analysis and has partnered with established scientific expertise within Australian academic institutions to introduce a national program based on international models.

The National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program is a key initiative in establishing an objective evidence base on illicit drug use and the level of use of a number of legitimate substances.

National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program Report—March 2018

The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission has commissioned the University of Queensland and the University of South Australia to prepare the first National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program report for 2018. This is the fourth in a series of nine public reports.

The March report includes wastewater data from all states and territories. Across the country, 45 sites and 12 substances were monitored, providing a detailed picture of national drug consumption. The report covers roughly 54 per cent of the population, which is around 12.7 million Australians. Population estimates have been refined in this report, which has increased the precision and accuracy of consumption estimates.

The data shows that methylamphetamine, of all the substances measured, continues to be the highest consumed illicit drug across all regions of Australia.

The National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program provides concrete data to inform policy in the health, education, law enforcement and not-for-profit sectors. Findings from the first two reports have been used by agencies to shape local responses—evidence the program is providing meaningful and actionable intelligence to inform Australia’s response to drug supply and demand.

Full report

Media material

View the previous National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program Reports.

Last updated
5 April 2018