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January 2018 – Australia: Wastewater analysis identifies low levels of NPS

CANBERRA, Australia – January 2018: Based on wastewater analysis of 54 wastewater treatment plants across Australia in August 2017, the National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program detected methylone and mephedrone, but at levels that were lower than other substances included in the analysis. Mephedrone was detected 11 times across 7 sites in Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia, while methylone was detected 90 times across 22 sites in all states and territories of Australia with the exceptions of the Australian Capital Territory and South Australia. However, the quantities of both detected NPS were below the level at which these could reliably be quantified. Although methods for measuring the synthetic cannabinoids JWH-018 and JWH-073 were included in the analysis, these NPS were not detected in wastewater in the country. Based on these findings, the National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program suspects that methylone, mephedrone, JWH-018 and JWH-073 represent niche markets in Australia.

It is also important to note that the estimated overall average consumption of fentanyl and oxycodone were found to be higher than the estimated consumption of heroin and cocaine, based on the results of the wastewater analysis. Although the estimated consumption of fentanyl has decreased in Australia since August 2016, fentanyl consumption remained high at several regional sites, particularly in South Australia.

 

For more information, please see:

Report of the National Wastewater and Drug Monitoring Program
https://www.acic.gov.au/sites/g/files/net3726/f/national_wastewater_drug_monitoring_program_report_3.pdf?v=1513140704

UNODC Report - “Fentanyl and its analogues - 50 years on”
https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/scientists/global-smart-update-2017-vol-17.html

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