Police say drug use is a ‘bad problem’ and market is highly resilient | Canberra Times

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Of all the illicit drugs available to ACT consumers, methylamphetamine has proven to be the most persistent and harmful in society and the most consumed nationwide. That said, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission’s latest wastewater drug monitoring report, compiled in April this year, well before the most recent lockdown and also before the massive international Operation Ironside cartel-breaking operation, has some welcome news for health and law enforcement. It showed that use of most illicit drugs decreased in the ACT, while only marijuana and methylamphetamine use increased. Surprisingly, even the average nicotine and alcohol consumption in the region decreased. It also revealed that the ACT had the country’s second-highest average consumption of oxycodone and cannabis in capital cities. Michael Phelan, former ACT Police Chief and now CEO of the intelligence commission, described methylamphetamine abuse as a “bad problem” and described the drug market as very resilient because consumption is rampant and strong in both capitals and regional areas. Organized crime groups import both the finished product and precursor chemicals and produce meth locally; wastewater analysis is one of the tools law enforcement uses to keep track of the “footprint” of the location of certain drugs. Canberra was one of 56 wastewater areas monitored in the report, and these sewer areas cover about 56 percent of the population. Compared with 23 other sites in Europe, North America, South Africa and Oceania, Australia had the second highest consumption of meth and ranked 16th for cocaine consumption. Cocaine prices here are among the highest in the western world, and Sydney is the largest market in the country. Since cannabis was added to wastewater testing in August 2018, long-term trends show that its use in the ACT and New South Wales has increased steadily. Cannabis has been decriminalized in the ACT starting January 31 this year, when new laws allow the possession of up to 50 grams of cannabis per person and make it legal to grow and consume small quantities of cannabis in your own home for personal use. Our coverage of the health and safety aspects of this COVID-19 outbreak on the ACT and curfew is free for everyone. However, we depend on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you can, you can subscribe here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support. You can also sign up for our newsletters for regular updates. Our journalists work hard to bring local, up-to-date news to the community. You can continue to access our trusted content by:



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