Updated: May 24, 2022
A recent pilot study tested for drugs of abuse in waste water in Perth (1). It clearly demonstrated the widespread use of drugs of abuse in particular the continued rise of methamphetamine otherwise known as ice. What's more, it revealed that the amount of drug detected (and therefore used) was only 20% less during the week compared to the weekend, making us all think twice about its presence in the workplace.
The sampling of waste water provides a more accurate assessment of actual drug use rather than relying on surveys or seizures. It revealed that 31.6 kg of methamphetamine was consumed in a week which equates to 1.6 tonnes annually. While this was not completely unexpected, it did highlight the rapidly increasing use of this drug. Other WA centres, such as Bunbury, were also tested and found to have even higher rates of usage. The data also correlates to similar studies in other cities such as Adelaide and Melbourne conducted over the past few years. The Melbourne study (2) demonstrated a doubling of methamphetamine between 2014 and 2015 in some areas of Melbourne, in particular the West Melbourne region. It also revealed that the amount of drug detected, and therefore used, was only 20% less during the week compared to weekend. A clear indication of the potential risk of users being impaired at work.