The results of the latest National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program are in. And in news that should surprise approximately no one, Australians have a thing for uppers.
The report estimates that 1.2 tonnes of MDMA and more than 3 tonnes of cocaine are consumed in Australia each year, along with a whopping 8.3 tonnes of methylamphetamine. Overall, out of the 23 countries with similar data, Australia ranked second highest in consumption of the most common stimulants, after the United States.
So who’s actually taking all these drugs? Well, for the first time in its five-year history, the report also breaks down the national consumption estimates to a state and territory level: showing who’s getting high off what, where. And in terms of all three of the most popular stimulants—MDMA, coke, and meth—New South Wales reigned supreme.
Drug users in the state were estimated to consume around 1,814 kilograms of coke, 472 kilos of MDMA, and 2,300 kilos of meth a year. Victorians, the next heaviest drug users, were estimated to consume about 682 kilos, 327 kilos, and 2,039 kilos respectively. Northern Territorians were consistently the lowest drug users, except for in terms of MDMA, where they were pipped at the post by Tasmania (Tassies only consume about 32 kilos of molly annually).
It’s worth pointing out that these trends largely mirror population sizes. NSW, Australia’s most populous state, has more than 30 times as many people as the NT, Australia’s least populous state.
All in all, though, Australia’s formidable ranking on the global drug-taking stage is largely due to our national love of ice. Despite the overall use of crystal meth decreasing around Australia, it was still the most highly ingested illicit drug in every state. And while the US has us beat in terms of overall consumption, Australians were estimated to use almost twice as much as the next highest country—the Czech Republic—on a daily basis.