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Sydneysiders use more cocaine than people from other Australian cities, while Melburnians led the country in use of three major drugs and and the biggest drinkers and smokers were in Darwin.

A new report by the Australian Crime Intelligence Commission analysed wastewater at 57 sites for traces of 12 legal and illegal drugs in April and June 2022.

The findings, which the commission said applied to 14.1 million Australians, identified which cities are the biggest users of a range of legal and illegal drugs.

Sydneysiders use more cocaine than people from other Australian cities, analysis of wastewater from 57 sites across Australia showed

Sydneysiders use more cocaine than people from other Australian cities, analysis of wastewater from 57 sites across Australia showed

Sydneysiders use more cocaine than people from other Australian cities, analysis of wastewater from 57 sites across Australia showed

People from Darwin ranked first for consumption of alcohol and cigarettes

People from Darwin ranked first for consumption of alcohol and cigarettes

People from Darwin ranked first for consumption of alcohol and cigarettes

People from Darwin ranked first for consumption of alcohol and cigarettes. 

They consumed on average just under 2.5 standard drinks per day which is around double the national capital city average, and about 3.5 cigarettes a day.

The only type of illegal drug use to increase right across Australia – in capital cities and regional areas – was meth (ice). 

In July, it was reported Australians are the heaviest users of meth in the world compared to those living in 24 other countries.

Australia recorded the highest consumption of the illicit drug per capita on a list of other Asian, European and Oceania nations. 

Heroin use rose in Australia’s regional areas but was stable in cities.

Consumption of all other drugs – including cocaine, fentanyl, MDMA/MDA cannabis and ketamine all fell nationwide – most likely due to supply issues, the ACIC believes.

The state-by-state data confirmed Sydney’s reputation as the cocaine capital of Australia.

ACIC CEO Michael Phelan APM said that serious and organised crime groups continue to profit from the business of drugs (Pictured, NSW police make an arrest after an investigation into the supply of prohibited drugs across the Central Coast and Hunter)

ACIC CEO Michael Phelan APM said that serious and organised crime groups continue to profit from the business of drugs (Pictured, NSW police make an arrest after an investigation into the supply of prohibited drugs across the Central Coast and Hunter)

ACIC CEO Michael Phelan APM said that serious and organised crime groups continue to profit from the business of drugs (Pictured, NSW police make an arrest after an investigation into the supply of prohibited drugs across the Central Coast and Hunter)

MDMA or ecstasy is beloved by Queenslanders

MDMA or ecstasy is beloved by Queenslanders

MDMA or ecstasy is beloved by Queenslanders

Sydneysiders used around 700mg per 1000 people per day, well above the national average for capital cities.

Brisbane ranked first for use of MDMA and MDA, while regional Queensland ranked first nationally for oxycodone consumption.

Oxycodone is an opoid, often issued by prescription, under brand names including Oxynorm, OxyContin, Endone, Proladone or Targin.

Based on the report’s data, many Melburnians and Tasmanians have far higher levels of drug use than people in other cities across a range of drugs.

Melbourne residents lead the nation in use of meth, heroin and ketamine, and have the second highest rate of cocaine consumption.

Their intake of meth was around 1,500mg per 1,000 people per da in April – so around 1.5mg each, far above the national average.

Their intake of heroin is around 270mg per 1,000 people per day, far above the national average of around 140mg.  

Melbourne residents lead the nation in use of meth, heroin and ketamine, and have the second highest rate of cocaine consumption

Melbourne residents lead the nation in use of meth, heroin and ketamine, and have the second highest rate of cocaine consumption

Melbourne residents lead the nation in use of meth, heroin and ketamine, and have the second highest rate of cocaine consumption

The Tasmanian capital leads in consumption of oxycodone, fentanyl and cannabis and is second-highest for alcohol, nicotine and ketamine

The Tasmanian capital leads in consumption of oxycodone, fentanyl and cannabis and is second-highest for alcohol, nicotine and ketamine

The Tasmanian capital leads in consumption of oxycodone, fentanyl and cannabis and is second-highest for alcohol, nicotine and ketamine

People from Hobart arguably has even heavier drug users. 

The Tasmanian capital leads in consumption of oxycodone, fentanyl and cannabis and is second-highest for alcohol, nicotine and ketamine.

Their average daily use of cannabis was just over 40,000mg of THC per day, per 1,000 people – so around 40mg per person. 

The national average is around 16,000, or 16mg each. 

THC is the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

ACIC CEO Michael Phelan APM said that serious and organised crime groups continued to profit from the business of drugs that cause harm to the Australian community. 

ACIC said money spent on drugs should be spent in far more useful ways.

‘We know that illicit drug activity is placing a significant burden on the Australian economy and this money could be better spent on education, healthcare and more,’ Mr Phelan said.

‘Understanding drug consumption at the population level supports effective allocation of resources and informs appropriate demand, supply and harm reduction strategies. This is critical in addressing drug use in Australia.’ 

For free and confidential advice about alcohol and drug treatment services call the National Alcohol and Other Drug Hotline on 1800 250 015.

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