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Wastewater drug testing shows there are plenty of people who do take drugs and drug use is a concern across the entire country.

Wastewater drug testing hall of shame

Our wastewater tells a story and in some instances it’s a story of shame, with wastewater drug testing showing the cities, regional areas and states where drugs are used and abused in high numbers.

Of course we’re talking about the National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program, run by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission with support from The University of Queensland and the University of South Australia. The program tests wastewater for drugs (including common legal drugs such as tobacco and alcohol) to help establish an objective evidence base on drug use in Australia.

For the latest report, 52 wastewater treatment plants across Australia were monitored, covering around 55 per cent of the nation’s population or around 12.9 million people. The monitoring was conducted in April 2019 with the report released in late October.

So, let’s look at the highlights… Or should that be lowlights?:

  • Capital city cocaine and heroin average consumption was higher than in regional areas.
  • Regionally, average consumption of nicotine, alcohol, methylamphetamines (e.g. ICE), MDMA, MDA, oxycodone, fentanyl and cannabis were higher than in capital cities.
  • Between December 2018 and April 2019, average consumption of cannabis, fentanyl and oxycodone decreased while use of methylamphetamine, cocaine, MDMA and heroin increased.
  • In NSW, the state had the highest average capital city and regional consumption of cocaine and the highest average regional consumption of MDMA or ecstasy. The state also had the 2nd highest average capital city and regional consumption of heroin.
  • Victoria recorded the highest average capital city and regional consumption of heroin and the highest average regional consumption of methylamphetamine nationally. The state also had the second highest average capital city consumption of cocaine and the second highest average regional consumption of oxycodone in the country.
  • For Queensland, they had the equal highest average regional consumption and second highest capital city consumption of fentanyl nationally. Queensland also had the second highest average capital city and regional consumption of MDMA and the second highest average regional consumption of cocaine in the country.
  • In South Australia, they shared the equal highest average regional consumption and second highest capital city consumption of fentanyl with Queensland. The state also had highest average regional consumption and second highest capital city consumption of cannabis nationally.
  • For WA, they recorded the second highest average capital city consumption of methylamphetamine and second highest average capital city excretion of MDA in the country.
  • Tasmania had the highest average capital city and regional consumption of oxycodone and the highest average capital city consumption of fentanyl and cannabis nationally.
  • In the ACT, the prescribed drug oxycodone is the main concern. The ACT had the 2nd highest average capital city consumption of the drug nationally.
  • Meanwhile in the NT, they had the highest average capital city and regional consumption of alcohol and nicotine nationally. The Northern Territory also had the highest average capital city consumption of methylamphetamine and MDMA, and the second highest average regional consumption of cannabis in the country.

The message for workplaces and drug testing

What’s the key message for workplaces where safety is important in all these findings? Clearly, the wastewater drug testing shows there are plenty of people who do take drugs and drug use is a concern across the entire country. And one of the ways you can protect your business is by identifying people who are turning up to work under the influence using drug testing.

To find out how Integrity Sampling can help your workplace conduct drug testing, give us a call on 1300 725 482.

IMAGE CAPTION:

Wastewater drug testing shows there are plenty of people who do take drugs and drug use is a concern across the entire country. Credit Montgomery County Plant https://www.flickr.com/photos/75012107@N05/44360987764/

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Michael

View posts by Michael
Michael is the founder of Integrity Sampling and is responsible for overseeing all national operations. He is based at Integrity Sampling's head office in Thomastown and is also responsible for the co-ordination of drug and alcohol testing within Victoria, assisting in the implementation of drug and alcohol (fit for work) policies and the presentation of drug and alcohol education and awareness programs.You can connect with Michael Wheeldon on LinkedIn

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