Australia’s drug hot spots revealed through sewage samples

Revealed: The city that consumes more cannabis and alcohol than any other Australian capital – as new report shows where the country’s ice problem hits hardest

  • Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission analysed sewage swabs at 53 sites
  • Hobart was the capital city with the highest rate of cannabis smoking, drinking
  • Darwin had highest rate of nicotine smoking while Melbourne was heroin capital
  • Adelaide had most ice addicts while Sydney had the highest rate of ecstasy use 

Hobart has Australia’s highest proportion of pot smokers and alcoholics.

The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission analysed sewage samples at 53 wastewater sites nationally to pinpoint the areas with higher rates of drug addiction.

Its National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program found Hobart had Australia’s ‘highest capital city consumption’ for cannabis and alcohol.

Hobart has Australia's highest proportion of pot smokers and alcoholics, an Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission analysis of sewage samples found. Hobart Lord Mayor Anna Reynolds said higher rates of poverty in some parts of the Tasmanian capital had led to the drug abuse. Pictured is central Hobart on the Derwent River

Hobart has Australia’s highest proportion of pot smokers and alcoholics, an Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission analysis of sewage samples found. Hobart Lord Mayor Anna Reynolds said higher rates of poverty in some parts of the Tasmanian capital had led to the drug abuse. Pictured is central Hobart on the Derwent River

Hobart Lord Mayor Anna Reynolds said higher rates of poverty in some parts of the Tasmanian capital had led to the drug abuse.

‘It may be our socio-economic status: people are earning less than the Australian average income, we do have a lot of people that are either in poverty or are certainly underemployed,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.

‘Sometimes, that can then mean that people have turned to alcohol and cannabis to basically try and deal with some of the challenges of life.’

Darwin had the most tobacco smokers. The Northern Territory is Australia's epicentre of nicotine and alcohol, with Tasmania a close second in the state-wide drinking stakes

Darwin had the most tobacco smokers. The Northern Territory is Australia’s epicentre of nicotine and alcohol, with Tasmania a close second in the state-wide drinking stakes

Melbourne (Flinders Street Station pictured in October 2012) was Australia's heroin use capital while Sydney was the big city with the most ecstasy and cocaine users

Melbourne (Flinders Street Station pictured in October 2012) was Australia’s heroin use capital while Sydney was the big city with the most ecstasy and cocaine users 

Darwin had the most smokers. When it came to the much deadlier drug ice, Adelaide was the capital city most likely to be home to meth heads.

The drug capitals of Australia revealed

HOBART: Cannabis, alcohol

MELBOURNE: Heroin

SYDNEY: Ecstasy/MDMA, cocaine

ADELAIDE: Ice/methylamphetamine

DARWIN: Nicotine 

Source:  Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission’s National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program

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The stimulant is Australia’s most abused illegal drug, with addicts also more likely to be found in regional parts of Western Australia.

‘Consistent with previous reports, findings show that of the substances monitored with known doses, nicotine and alcohol are the most consumed drugs in Australia, while methylamphetamine remains the most consumed illicit drug,’ the report said.  

The Northern Territory is Australia’s epicentre of nicotine and alcohol, with Tasmania a close second in the state-wide drinking stakes.

Melbourne was the heroin use capital while Sydney was the big city with the most ecstasy and cocaine users. 

The wastewater monitoring program covers areas that are home to 10million people, or about 43 per cent of the Australian population.

Drug use was generally higher in regional areas than Australia’s capital cities. 

Samples were taken for analysis in October and December last year and again in February 2020, a month before the coronavirus lockdowns and business shutdowns.

Researchers from the University of Queensland and the University of South Australia analysed the samples and provided data. 

Adelaide (Victoria Square pictured) was the capital city most likely to be home to meth heads

Adelaide (Victoria Square pictured) was the capital city most likely to be home to meth heads

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