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20 February 2019

National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program—Sixth report

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 ProgramSixth report

The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission has commissioned the University of Queensland, and through it the University of South Australia, to undertake the data collection and analysis that underpins the report. This is the sixth in a series of nine public reports.

For this sixth report, wastewater samples were collected during weeks of June and August 2018.  Wastewater analysis was conducted at 58 sites (22 capital city and 36 regional) across all Australian states and territories, covering 13 substances, providing a detailed picture of national drug consumption. The report covers 56 per cent of the population, which is around 13 million Australians.

To maintain treatment plant confidentiality, each site was allocated a unique code and site names are not included.

The sixth National Wastewater Drug Monitoring program report reflects a further evolution of the program and for the first time reports nationally on cannabis consumption.

When comparing data from August 2016 to August 2018, the population-weighted average consumption of methylamphetamine, cocaine, fentanyl, nicotine and alcohol in both capital city and regional sites increased, while consumption of MDMA and oxycodone in both capital city and regional sites decreased.

Full report

Media material

View previous National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program reports.

Last updated
28 June 2019