Meth, coke and MDMA: Police reveal how the drugs are in our wastewater

Meth in Northland, coke in Auckland and MDMA in Christchurch. Wastewater samples have revealed the shocking extent of New Zealand's drug use.

Police have released the first results from the National Wastewater Testing Programme, covering from November 2018 to January 2019.

This tested for methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, MDMA and fentanyl and covered around 80 percent of New Zealand's population.

The preliminary results show Kiwis consume around 16kgs of meth each week - making it New Zealand's most commonly detected illicit drug nationwide. Meth use was most prevalent per capita in Northland, and caused an estimated $20 million per week in social harm.

MDMA proved second best, with an estimated consumption rate of 4kg on average each week. It was most popular in the Canterbury District.

Cocaine was further back, with just 700g being used on average each week.

"This indicates a much smaller user base and likely reflects less demand and supply associated with the drug," a police spokesperson says.

"Cocaine use is significantly more prevalent in the Auckland region (per capita) than anywhere else in the country."

Testing showed the use of opiates across New Zealand is very low.

Altogether, Kiwis use around $9.6 million of the detected drugs each week, enough to generate approximately $500 million of criminal profits annually.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush says the results will help authorities understand the demand and supply of illicit drugs.

"The long term results will help Police and other agencies make informed decisions around drug treatment services, and initiatives to combat organised crime groups dealing in methamphetamine and other drugs," he says.