Drug use revealed in water

April 06, 2018

Methylamphetamine use is more common in regional areas than cities, a new report on wastewater has found.

The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission released the fourth report of the National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program yesterday.

‘‘It is highly concerning to see methylamphetamine consumption on the rise in regional sites in Victoria,’’ Law Enforcement and Cyber Security Minister Angus Taylor said.

‘‘This destructive drug is having a terrible impact not only on users, but on families, first responders, health practitioners and the community more broadly.’’

The program, which provides a picture of changing trends in the consumption of methylamphetamine and 11 other drugs, also found illicit drug use was on the rise across Australia.

‘‘We estimate that over 8.3tonnes of methylamphetamine is consumed in Australia each year, as well as over three tonnes of cocaine, 1.2tonnes of MDMA and 700kg of heroin,’’ Mr Phelan said.

The manager of a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility in Shepparton said his experiences in Shepparton aligned with the findings.

‘‘Methylamphetamine has hit rural areas harder; in the city heroin is more prevalent,’’ The Cottage’s manager Joshua Simm said.

Victoria also recorded the highest regional consumption of oxycodone of any state or territory.

Oxycodone is a legal opioid available by prescription, but is bought and sold illegally.

‘‘Oxycodone is definitely something that people can become addicted too as well as other prescription medication,’’ Mr Simm said.

Of the 12 substances the program monitored this time, alcohol and nicotine remained the most common.

For this report, samples were collected during October and December last year, covering 12 substances.

Some 45 wastewater sites were monitored nationally in December last year, covering 54.3 per cent of Australia’s population — about 12.7million people.

Primary Care Connect was contacted for comment.

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