The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission's (ACIC) latest report has compared water samples taken from December to February this year as Covid-19 restrictions were relaxed to see what was lurking in people's waste.
ABC News reports that the Western Australian capital has come out on top for meth users.
While Perth has always recorded high levels of meth consumption, use of the illegal substance is at an all-time high.
ACIC principal drug advisor Shane Neilson told AAP: "The issue there is the population in Perth is less than the eastern seaboard capital cities.
"The level of consumption is actually higher in terms of weight on the eastern seaboard but per capita that's why Perth is high."
He revealed that meth is Australia's most popular illicit drug and poses a ‘wicked problem’ for the nation.
Neilson also said that despite facing a cost-of-living crisis, drug users would still prioritise illicit drugs over essential household items.
He added: “I think that is quite a sad situation and underlies the harms that are posed by consumption of these illicit drugs."
The ACIC report revealed that Australians are the biggest meth users per capita, when compared to more than 24 countries across Asia, Europe and Oceania.
Data also shows that for the first time since 2017, cocaine, meth and MDMA consumption was higher in inner-city suburbs compared to regional towns.
The report coincides with another study that was conducted by the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) at UNSW last year, which found significant increases in several illegal drugs across the nation based on 774 interviews.
Program lead for Drug Trends Dr Rachel Sutherland said of the findings: “Among our sample of people who regularly use ecstasy and other illicit stimulants, we found significant increases in the per cent reporting any past six-month use of cocaine, ketamine, non-prescribed pharmaceutical stimulants, hallucinogenic mushrooms, and e-cigarettes.”
She added: “Further, most of these surveys occurred before the current wave of Covid-19 cases and government restrictions, so it is possible that there may have been even further fluctuations in drug use and markets.
"Using illegal drugs always carries risk; however, this risk can be exacerbated in volatile markets”.
Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education confirmed 25,000 people called the national drug and alcohol hotline last year, which was triple the numbers recorded before the Covid-19 pandemic, according to The Western Australian.
Professor from the treatment and support centre Turning Point, Dan Lubman, told the outlet: “The effects of the pandemic have been felt deeply at all levels of our community and will continue to be felt for years to come.”Featured Image Credit: Alamy.