New data has revealed some worrying news for Victoria.
The criminal intelligence data was compiled after the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) conducted wastewater testing to see what Aussies are putting in their bodies (and subsequently out of their bodies).
The data also shows that Victoria is the second highest for cocaine consumption in the nation.
Regional Victoria ranked first for ketamine consumption and for heroin and oxycodone consumption.
ACIC chief executive Michael Phelan said that organised crime groups continued to profit from the business of drugs that continued to harm Australian communities.
“Wastewater analysis is an important measure of the demand for a range of illicit drugs and licit drugs with abuse potential and their consumption is a key indicator of the level of harm experienced by the community,” Mr Phelan said (via the Herald Sun).
“We know that illicit drug activity is placing a significant burden on the Australian economy and this money could be better spent on education, healthcare and more.
“Understanding drug consumption at the population level supports effective allocation of resources and informs appropriate demand, supply and harm reduction strategies.
"This is critical in addressing drug use in Australia.”
Victoria was first announced as the heroin and ketamine capital in June after authorities tested 11 wastewater sites across Victoria in December and February.
But in February last year, Victoria surpassed NSW as the highest population of cocaine users in the country.
The National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre found that 5.2 per cent of surveyed participants had admitted to consuming the drug between 2019 to 2020, which was more than double the figure from 2016 to 2017, as per The Age.
Victorian Alcohol and Drug Association (VAADA) executive officer Sam Biondo also said the surge of illicit drugs across the state was due to the lack of drug and alcohol support available.
“People seeking support to deal with chronic pain issues have limited success in finding that support and this is a major factor,” Mr Biondo said, as per the Herald Sun.
However, Victoria is also falling behind in decriminalising drugs - much like the rest of the country.
Reason party leader Fiona Pattern, who has been a fierce advocate for drug law reform, issued a statement earlier this year urging parliament to change its stance and end the war on drugs.
She wrote: “Victoria Police supports treatment-based responses, rightly describing drug problems as ‘first and foremost health issues’.
"But the existing law ties up extensive police resources dealing with something that police acknowledge is a health issue, not a criminal one.”
Featured Image Credit: John Warburton-Lee Photography / Alamy Stock Photo. Keith Leighton / Alamy Stock Photo
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