Flushing out Auckland’s drug use – In the News

Methamphetamine is the most commonly detected illegal drug in Auckland, according to a study that examined drugs flushed into the wastewater.

Massey University-led research surveyed two wastewater treatment plants between May and June 2014 and found high levels of methamphetamine, codeine, morphine and methadone in both facilities. MDMA (ecstasy) and cocaine were relatively rare and were only detected on the weekend, in line with their status as party drugs.

Meth, however, showed up consistently during the week – indicative of its addictive status and use as a stimulant in work activities. Massey University Associate Professor Chris Wilkins said meth’s stimulant properties “have long been known to be used across a range of work, domestic and recreational activities that require long periods of stamina and concentration”.

“It’s not surprising methamphetamine presented more regularly, as it’s also associated with high levels of dependency, which may also dictate more regular use patterns. The low level of cocaine consumption is consistent with the very low use and availability of cocaine as reported in our annual monitoring surveys.”

The pilot study’s findings were covered in local media, including:

NZ Herald: Underground drugs: Sewer tests flush out Auckland’s meth use
Auckland’s drug habits: Meth every day, cocaine and ecstasy at weekends
Stuff.co.nz: Auckland’s use of meth revealed in Massey University tests on wastewater
NZ Newswire: Meth use common, Auckland study finds
RNZ: Lifting the lid on Aucklanders’ drug habits
Vice: Sewage Tests Reveal Aucklanders Are Taking Way More Meth than Cocaine
RNZ: P most commonly detected drug in Auckland’s wastewater
Public Address: What the wastewater tells us about drugs
RNZ: Half a kilo of meth enters Ak’s wastewater every day