Meth is still Australia's most consumed illicit drug, new report shows

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Crystal meth also known as shabu and ice
A member of the German Criminal Investigation Division (BKA) displays Crystal Methamphetamine (Crystal Meth) during a news conference at the BKA office in Wiesbaden November 13, 2014. Police found 4 kilograms of Crystal Meth and 2.9 tons of Chlorephedrine, a base substance to produce Crystal Meth, during a police raid in Leipzig on November 5 and November 8, 2014. Reuters/Ralph Orlowski

Meth is still Australia’s most consumed illicit drug, according to the latest national sewerage testing. The highest consumption of meth was recorded in Adelaide and regional Western Australia.

Released on Thursday, the National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program report by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission shows an overall increase in illicit drug use across Australia in comparison with the previous report. A "dramatic consumption" of methamphetamines was seen during the report’s 12-month period, with over 8.3 tonnes of meth used in the country between August 2016 and August 2017.

Law Enforcement Minister Angus Taylor described the number as an extraordinary amount. "We know that we have a particular problem in some regions and here in WA particularly in regional WA – we have the highest consumption of any regional area in Australia and we have higher consumption than nearly all the capital cities," Mandurah Mail reports Taylor as saying. He added that what the analysis allows them to do is focus efforts on local areas where consumption was revealed to be highest.

Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission chief executive Michael Phelan and Canning MP Andrew Hastie were with Taylor in Mandurah on Thursday to reveal the results of the report.

Phelan explained estimates of more than 8.3 tonnes of methylamphetamine being consumed here annually. He also cited over three tonnes of cocaine, 1.2 tonnes of MDMA and 700 kilograms of heroin. Adelaide continued to record the highest per capita consumption of meth and WA had seen the highest average regional consumption as of December last year.

According to Hastie, there are a lot of positives happening in Mandurah, but the drug issue continues to linger. “We see criminal activity and just recently I've heard from people in smaller towns like Dwellingup who say they are becoming a bit like ungoverned spaces with a lot of drug activity taking place and making it difficult for residents in those towns,” he added.

The drug testing trial by the government aims to identify those on welfare struggling with drug dependency. These individuals will be directed to services that will help them overcome addiction. Mandurah would become one of three national locations to trial the program once passed.

The report seeks to provide a clear picture of changing trends in the consumption of meth and 11 other drugs across the country. Data had been collected from 45 wastewater sites.