Shocking: Report Finds That Sydneysiders Are the Biggest Coke Users in Australia

Melbourne had the highest heroin use, while those from Darwin consumed the most alcohol.
dealer in car
(Luka Lajst via istock)

A report studying wastewater from across Australia has tallied up the nation’s drug and alcohol usage with surprising (and not-so-surprising) results.

When it comes to city stereotypes in Australia, Sydney – believing itself to be the business capital of the nation – lives up to the name, snorting the most coke. But aside from wired suits looking for a little fun, the other capital cities of Australia hold their own when it comes to drug use.


The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission’s latest report, released in June 2022, shared results from August 2019 to February of 2022 that recorded the consumption, and excretion in wastewater, of various drugs across the nation.

That’s right: your piss and shit tells the scientist what drugs you did on the weekend.

The rounded results were collected by the Sydney Morning Herald over the weekend, with quite a few interesting discoveries.

While Sydney is in the throes of cocaine use, recording 800mg of cocaine per 1000 people per day, Melbourne and Brisbane lag at 450mg per 1000 people per day. 

When it comes to heroin use, however, Melbourne rocketed forward at 221 mg per 1000 people per day, with Sydney second at 123mg and Brisbane third at 93mg.

Darwin was at the forefront for both ketamine (8.32 mg per 1000 people) and MDMA use (283 mg per 1000 people), as well as alcohol consumption (2933 standard drinks per 1000 people per day).

And the biggest weed smokers? Hobart, at 57,000mg of THC per 1000 people per day. Melbourne, followed by Sydney, were last.

Melbourne, known by some as the cultural hub of Australia (and thought to be the biggest partiers?), ranked second for ketamine at 4.96 mg per 1000 people per day and third for MDMA (behind Brisbane) at 125 mg per 1000 people per day.


Finally, Darwin’s ciggie habits took the top spot, with locals consuming 4292 mg per 1000 people per day. Hobart was next, at 3250 mg per 1000 people per day, and Canberra smudged in – just before Brisbane and Sydney – at 1992 mg per 1000 people per day.

As a whole, and across the nation, the report found that between August and December of 2021, methylamphetamine, cocaine, MDMA and MDA increased in both capital cities and regional areas, while the consumption of heroin and weed decreased. Fentynal and oxycodone fluctuated in use across the nation in the same period, but the results showed that they remain low and “relatively stable”. 

When it comes to Australia’s ranking against other countries recorded in the same Sewage Core Group Europe (SCORE) – which covers Europe, Asia and Oceania – Australia rated number one in methamphetamines from 25 countries, 15th in Cocaine from 24 countries, 5th in MDMA consumption from 27 countries and 6th in cannabis use from 16 countries.

Clearly, drug use in Australia isn’t going anywhere soon.

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