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First National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Report pinpoints targets to flush out crooks



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The Hon Michael Keenan MP Minister for Justice

Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Counter Terrorism

MEDIA RELEASE

26 March 2017

First National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Report pinpoints targets to flush out crooks

Today’s first National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program Report will change the way our nation fights the scourge of ice.

The ground-breaking report by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) has confirmed that ice is the most highly consumed illicit drug of those tested in all regions of Australia.

This new data will pinpoint targets for our law enforcement agencies so they can flush out the crooks responsible for this evil trade and protect the communities they are targeting.

Methamphetamine, or ice, consumption in Western Australia and South Australia was higher than the national average, in both the capital cities and regional areas. High levels were also recorded in regional sites in Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania.

Cocaine use was the highest in New South Wales, almost double the second highest jurisdiction the Northern Territory, in terms of doses consumed per day. The ACT recorded the third highest use.

The report also revealed a high use of prescription medications fentanyl and oxycodone across all jurisdictions, particularly in regional Queensland, suggesting a potential diversion into the illicit market.

The ACIC received a $3.6 million boost from the Coalition Government for this initiative to detect ice hotspots, and collect data on drugs being used within our communities following a recommendation by the National Ice Taskforce.

The analysis tested for methamphetamine, or ice, and 12 other illicit and licit substances including cocaine, MDMA, tobacco and alcohol at 51 sites across the country.

The results provide us with the greatest ever insight into what drugs are being consumed and where, with the covert testing covering 58 per cent of Australia’s population - about 14 million Australians.

This is critical baseline data, the first of nine tests to be conducted over the next three years, which will ensure we can better target our law enforcement and health responses, and monitor their progress.

The report’s first findings drive home the message that we cannot simply arrest our way out of this problem - we must tackle the demand for illicit drugs in Australia.

The Coalition Government is investing almost $300 million to support actions resulting from the National Ice Action Strategy to improve treatment, after care, education, prevention and community engagement.

We are also tackling the supply of ice through increased international cooperation, enhanced intelligence sharing, better controls of precursor chemicals and greater efforts to prevent ice reaching our regional and remote communities.

Make no mistake; the Coalition Government will use every weapon in our arsenal to break the business models of serious and organised crime gangs that thrive on the evil profits of ice and other drugs.

The National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program Report is available at: https://www.acic.gov.au/publications/intelligence-products/national-wastewater-drug-monitoring-program-report

Media contacts: Danielle McKay 0438 390 273 or Shannen Wilkinson 0476 820 816