Canberran's leisure time is increasingly on the 'nose'

Nic Crowther
Mon 27 Mar

“Well, well, well, what have we here?”

The AFP might be asking themselves this question following yesterday’s release of the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission’s report on drug use, the National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program.



In 2014, there were raised eyebrows across the world when a groundbreaking stufy of wastewater across European capitals revealed that the City of London had the highest cocaine use. Levels recorded were almost twice as high (711mg/1000 people) as Amsterdam (393mg) in second place.

This year, a similar test has been conducted across Australia in both metropolitan and regional sites. While the ACT was only tested as metropolitan area, the results were telling given the region’s relative wealth and educated population.


National alcohol consumption


Despite today’s report that the ACT government has issued a new liquor licence every week for the last four years, Canberrans are among the least prolific boozers in Australia. We were the lowest consumers of alcohol across any measurement, with less than 0.9 standard drinks per day. Unsurprisingly, our fellow Territorians topped the charts - Darwinians consumed almost five times as many drinks as the ACT.

Similarly, the ACT was well down on tobacco use.


National nicotine consumption


Meanwhile, on the illicit side of drug use, two measurements were particularly revealing.


National methylamphetamine consumption


Although crystalised methylamphetamine (meth) is causing all sorts of trouble across Australia (particularly in country towns) Canberrans are staying away from this unusually destructive addiction.

But, much like our British counterparts, seems cocaine is the drug that Canberrans turn to. Once described as “God’s way of saying that you have too much money,” cocaine is clearly the preferred choice of the white-collar sector.

In a city such as Canberra – with more accountants and lawyers per capital than almost any other place on earth, the numbers speak for themselves.


National cocaine consumption


Still, we’re a long way behind Sydney. The international party-town and financial capital seems to be swimming in blow from Macquarie Street through to Paddington.