The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission has called for a “multi-faceted approach to combating the illicit drug trade”, stating that “it cannot be addressed by law enforcement alone”.
The comments come off the back of the third National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program report, which shone a damning light on NSW, particularly regional NSW, with Tamworth one of five regional sites being tested quarterly.
Just like the first two reports the testing showed cocaine use in Australia is “centred” in NSW, in both city and regional sites, while the state also reported some of the highest MDMA levels in the country.
Alcohol and tobacco remain the highest consumed substances across all states and territories, although alarmingly while NSW city sites showed decreased consumption of methylamphetamine, or ice, regional sites showed an increase in usage.
Another shocking statistic is that heroin consumption in regional NSW actually exceeded that of the city sites, and while oxycodone consumption went down across the board fentanyl consumption equally increased.
ACIC CEO Michael Phelan released the latest report on Friday.
“The findings present a picture of substance use across the country and reinforce the message that Australia needs a multi-faceted approach to combating the illicit drug trade—it cannot be addressed by law enforcement alone,” Mr Phelan said.
“We already know that serious and organised crime groups are thriving on the profits generated through the illicit drug trade, with no regard for everyday Australians battling addiction.”
“Illicit drug use is also costing Australia billions of dollars every year in lost productivity and healthcare and crime costs.”
Other findings showed that NSW reported the highest regional average consumption of MDMA nationally, while also reporting MDA usage three times that reported in the city sites.
For this report, samples were collected during April, June and August 2017, across 54 wastewater sites, testing for 14 substances, and covering approximately 61 per cent of the population.
“We are committed to providing a strong evidence base to inform policy and operational decisions, and will continue working with our partners to connect, discover, understand and respond to the threat and harm caused by illicit drug activity,” Mr Phelan said.