Report finds cocaine use rising in regional areas

NEW data has found cocaine is rearing its ugly head in regional areas.

The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission has released the fourth report of the National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program, revealing NSW reported the highest levels of cocaine consumption in capital city and regional sites nationwide.

The state also reported an increase in cocaine use and some of the highest MDMA and heroin consumption levels nationally.

The cocaine reference was surprising to Leeton Salvation Army’s Michelle Kilgower.

“It is surprising because I would say ICE is still the biggest problem drug in our region … I’m including the wider region in that because we offer programs not just in Leeton, but Narrandera, West Wyalong and more,” she said.

“We do see people all of the time who are affected by a substance of some sort. 

“I would say ICE and probably cannabis are still the two biggest types of drugs people are taking (in this area).

“It’s the flow on affect from these drugs that we mostly deal with. It’s the limited capacity of people to make sound and reasonable decisions when they are under the influence of these drugs which is one of the many big concerns.”

The fourth report also provides conservative estimates of the weight of methylamphetamine, cocaine, MDMA and heroin consumed nationally in a year. 

It estimated over 8.3 tonnes of methylamphetamine is consumed in Australia each year, as well as over three tonnes of cocaine, 1.2 tonnes of MDMA and 700 kilograms of heroin.

Ms Kilgower said it remained important for people to seek help. 

“Drug-taking doesn’t just affect the person who takes any form of these substances,” she said. 

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“It’s a wider issue and a wider community issue. 

“We are here to help and we certainly encourage people to come and talk to us.

“It’s what we are here for.”

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