THE per capita consumption of nicotine, alcohol, methylamphetamine, MDMA, MDA, oxycodone, fentanyl and cannabis in regional area exceeds that of capital cities, a new report has found.
The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) has released a snapshot of the country's wastewater and it reveals that 11.5 tonnes of methylamphetamine was consumed nationwide last year, along with 4.6 tonnes of cocaine, 2.2 tonnes of MDMA, and more than 900 kilograms of heroin.
In the year to August 2019, Australians spent $11.3 billion on methylamphetamine, cocaine, MDMA and heroin. Of this, $8.63 billion was spent on methylamphetamine.
While the exact locations of treatment plants is not publicly released, the report showed that in regional areas, consumption of most drugs was higher per capita, with the exception of cocaine and heroin
The report also said the data reinforced the different dynamics that apply to capital city and regional markets and also illustrates drug preference variation that exists within and between states and territories.
The consumption of nicotine was substantially higher in regional areas compared to capital cities whereas, in the case of alcohol, there was a relatively small difference between regional and capital city use.
GRAPH: Story continues below
Oxycodone and fentanyl, both of which are prescription pharmaceutical drugs with abuse potential, had elevated consumption levels in regional parts of the country.
ACIC chief executive officer Michael Phelan said the significant money spent by users was one of the more tragic, harmful and wasteful aspects of illicit drug markets.
"Australians are spending a significant amount of money on illicit substances each year, generating profits for the sole benefit of organised crime groups. This is money that might otherwise have been spent on legitimate goods for themselves and their families," he said.
READ ALSO: Health workers get special shopping hours
"Illicit drugs have a devastating impact on everyday Australians. Organised criminals involved in the illicit drug trade prey on our communities to make a profit. They don't care about the devastation caused through health and social costs, or the drug-related crime.
"By measuring the level of consumption of illicit drugs and legal drugs with abuse potential, the NWDMP can identify new sources of threat and be used as a key indicator of harm posed by these substances."
The August 2019 collection covers around 57 per cent of Australia's population-about 13.3 million Australians.