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Wastewater – A window into drug consumption in Australia

DASA: Drug Consumption in Australia

The most recent report from the National Wastewater Drug Monitoring program was released earlier this month. This report (#19) is based on data collected in December 2022 and February 2023 and provides interesting insights into drug consumption across the country.

Here is a summary of the findings:

  • Our appetite for narcotics continues to grow. Average consumption of methamphetamine, cocaine, MDMA, fentanyl and ketamine has increased - in both our capital cities and regional centres – despite several significant, high-profile drug busts during this period.

  • For the first time, this report directly compares cannabis consumption with other drugs – and the comparison is very interesting. This report shows that cannabis is by far our most consumed substance - at least double that of methamphetamine – and has been since August 2018, when cannabis was first included in the report.

  • Cannabis consumption is twice as high in regional Australia when compared to the capital cities in December 2022.

  • Methamphetamine is the second most consumed illicit drug but remains Australia’s most harmful illicit drug.

  • Cocaine consumption increased between August and December 2022 and is now Australia's third most consumed illicit drug. Not surprisingly, consumption is much higher in capital cities than in regional areas.

  • Internationally, our appetite for methamphetamine is strong. We have the third-highest methamphetamine consumption per capita across the 25 Sewage Core Group Europe (SCORE) countries.

Click here to read the report in full.

What is very clear from the National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program’s recent report is that illicit drugs are well and truly a part of our society. As such, it is not surprising they may find their way into our workplaces, compromising safety and wellbeing.

The first step in managing this risk is to have a comprehensive and robust drug and alcohol policy in place. DASA can help with this. To find out more, get in touch today on 1300 230 231 or visit our website


DASA (Drug and Alcohol Solutions Australia) is proud to be leading the way in workplace drug and alcohol testing services throughout Australia. Whether your need is for workplace drug and workplace alcohol testing, advice on drug and alcohol policy or ideas on how to communicate your workplace expectations, policies and procedures to your staff, DASA can help. We have the experience, technical expertise and people to lead you to the right solution.



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