2021 ACIC National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program Report
The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) has released the twelfth report of the National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program (the Program). This program was commissioned with the University of Queensland, and through it the University of South Australia, in order to undertake the data collection and analysis that underpins the report.
The twelfth report covers around 56 per cent of the population, which equates to about 13.2 million people. Fifty-six wastewater treatment plants across Australia participated in the August 2020 collection, which monitored the consumption of 13 substances. In October 2020, when only capital city sites were sampled, there were 21 sites covering approximately 48 per cent of the population.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, a new focus of the ACIC’s wastewater work has been the successful detection of the virus in wastewater for advice to health and policy stakeholders. The Program has also leveraged its unique access to timely consumption data to brief law enforcement and policy departments on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the national response on illicit drug markets. Additional data are again available, by state and territory and drug type, as a guide to trends over the period the respective drugs have been monitored by the Program.
Key findings within this year's report include:
- Capital city cocaine and heroin average consumption exceeded regional consumption.
- However, the per capita regional consumption of all the other drugs measured by the Program exceeded that in capital cities.
- Regional nicotine, alcohol, methylamphetamine, MDMA, MDA, oxycodone, fentanyl and cannabis average consumption exceeded capital city consumption.
- Of the drugs measured with available dose data, alcohol and nicotine remain the most consumed, with methylamphetamine the most consumed illicit drug.
- The population-weighted average consumption of methylamphetamine and fentanyl in capital cities decreased, while consumption of all other drugs increased.
- During this period the regional consumption of methylamphetamine, heroin and fentanyl decreased, while alcohol, nicotine, cocaine, oxycodone and cannabis increased and MDMA consumption remained relatively stable.
The full report - including breakdowns for each state and territory - is available from the ACIC website: www.acic.gov.au