Drugs Aussies are being arrested for every 3 minutes
A drug-related arrest is being made every three and a half minutes across Australia with online drug buying more than doubling and the black economy of seized narcotics alone now worth more than $3.5 billion a year.
The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) has released its latest snapshot on drugs consumption nationally with new records set for every drug type found by police, with a seizure now being made every five minutes.
But according to what goes through our toilets, authorities are only finding a small fraction of what we are consuming reaffirming Australia's dubious honour as a global drug using capital particularly for ice and cocaine.
Over the past decade, during which time the Australian population increased around 13 per cent, the number of national illicit drug seizures increased 77 per cent, the weight of illicit drugs seized nationally increased 241 per cent and the number of national illicit drug arrests increased 80 per cent with 153,377 arrests in 2018-19.
The ACIC's national waste water monitoring data showed the weight of cocaine seized equated to just 35 per cent of the total estimated weight of cocaine needed to meet national demand.
For heroin it was just 21 per cent, amphetamines seized equated to 38 per cent needed to meet demand while MDMA was 70 per cent.
The arrest rate made every 3.5 minutes was an increase from the four minutes in the 2017-18 report.
According to the report, the ability to buy and sell illicit substances online was a "resilient feature" of the drugs market with "significant potential for expansion" with appeal for undertaking transactions remotely, avoidance of direct physical contact while purchasing and selling and accessibility and pricing.
"International and domestic mail streams are critical to the importation and/or distribution of illicit drugs purchased online, with Europe a key source region," the report concluded.
NSW remained the nation's biggest user of all forms of drugs notably cocaine where the state accounted for 67 per cent of seizure numbers and more than half of the nation's total seized figure by weight and 51 per cent of all national cocaine arrests.
ACIC CEO Mike Phelan said serious and organised criminals were at the centre of Australia's illicit drug market, motivated by greed, power and profit.
"It would appear that Australian drug markets continue to grow," he said. "As such, the importation, manufacture, cultivation and distribution of illicit drugs and related precursors in Australia remain a focal point of government, law enforcement and intelligence agencies."
The weight of amphetamine type stimulants including MDMA detected in 2018-19 was more than double the combined weight of cannabis, heroin and cocaine detections. Methylamphetamine remained the most consumed illicit drug of those monitored by the National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program.
Originally published as Drugs Aussies are being arrested for every 3 minutes