Journal of global health

Australia Sees Surge In Drug Use, New Analysis Reveals

Australia’s drug consumption issue is escalating, with new findings showing record highs in the use of certain narcotics. 

According to the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC), the latest wastewater drug monitoring data highlights a “persistent and evolving” challenge.

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In December 2023, cocaine consumption reached unprecedented levels in both capital and regional areas, while methamphetamine use hit record highs in cities. 

Nicotine consumption also soared in regional locations. 

This data, gathered from 56 sites nationwide, reflects the drug use habits of approximately 14.1 million Australians, representing 55 per cent of the population.

The report indicated a steady rise in the average use of meth, cocaine, MDMA, MDA, ketamine, alcohol, and nicotine across the country. 

The use of Cannabis has a slight decline, although it remains the most widely used illicit drug in Australia. 

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CEO Heather Cook said that internationally, Australia ranks high for stimulant usage. 

The country placed fourth for illicit stimulants overall and had the second-highest per capita consumption of meth. 

For cocaine, Australia ranked 20th, 15th for MDMA, and third for cannabis.

“Wastewater analysis permits the ACIC to engage meaningfully with international agencies on transnational drug threats,” he said.

“It enhances our ability to anticipate and respond to emerging drug threats by integrating targeted, high-intensity wastewater analysis in our investigations.”

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