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Australia officially has the highest per capita cocaine user in the world

Velentina Boulter

| Last updated 

Australia officially has the highest per capita cocaine user in the world

A new UN report has found that Australia and New Zealand are the cocaine capitals of the world.

The 2023 World Drug Report from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) was launched on World Drug Day earlier this week.

The report found that in the past year, Australia and New Zealand had the highest use of cocaine across the world.

With an estimated five and a half tonnes consumed per year, Australia is the highest per capita user of cocaine worldwide.

Photo Credit: Dumitru Gornet / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo Credit: Dumitru Gornet / Alamy Stock Photo

However, the UN report also notes that the consumption of cocaine across Oceania, based on wastewater analysis, is lower than in other regions.

“This suggests most users of cocaine are occasional users.”

The report additionally revealed that past-year ecstasy use across Australia and New Zealand is the highest worldwide.


“This is consistent with MDMA levels found in wastewater analysis.”

“What we know from our wastewater data is that cocaine is a serious drug for the country,” Dr Katie Willis, Australian Criminal Intelligence Commissioner said in an interview for Sky News.

“All of the data that we have is pointing in the direction of expansion in the cocaine market.”

According to the report, cocaine use across the globe is increasing because 'higher efficiency in the production of cocaine at the source has triggered subsequent increases in cocaine manufacturing.'


“Fragmenting supply chains and loosely connected criminal groups are driving the expansion of drug supply, notably cocaine, with new hubs and markets.”

Cocaine manufacturing reached an all-time high in 2021, with an estimated 2,300 tons produced.

Despite increases in production, across Oceania, there was an increase in the amount of cocaine, heroin and morphine seized by authorities.

“Cocaine shipments are being seized at Australia’s borders at record levels, and criminal syndicates should understand that the ABF does not work in isolation, but rather in partnership with domestic and foreign agencies,” said ABF Commander Ranjeev Maharaj at a recent press conference.

Featured Image Credit: Science Photo Library/Alamy Stock Photo / rudi1976/Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: News, Drugs, Australia

Velentina Boulter
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