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National wastewater drug monitoring program: report 12, February 2021

Drug traffic Drug use Forensic sciences Australia

The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) has commissioned the University of Queensland, and through it the University of South Australia, to undertake the data collection and analysis that underpins the report. This is the twelfth report of the National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program (the Program).

The twelfth report covers around 56 per cent of the population, which equates to about 13.2 million people. Fifty-six wastewater treatment plants across Australia participated in the August 2020 collection, which monitored the consumption of 13 substances. In October 2020, when only capital city sites were sampled, there were 21 sites covering approximately 48 per cent of the population.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, a new focus of the ACIC’s wastewater work has been the successful detection of the virus in wastewater for advice to health and policy stakeholders. The Program has also leveraged its unique access to timely consumption data to brief law enforcement and policy departments on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the national response on illicit drug markets.

Additional data are again available, by state and territory and drug type, as a guide to trends over the period the respective drugs have been monitored by the Program.

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