The Australian state testing everyone for meth

A seized ice pipe in Melbourne. Photo: AAP

A seized ice pipe in Melbourne. Photo: AAP

Western Australia will test its entire population for methamphetamine use by testing waste water.

The move, authorised by police minister Liza Harvey, is a “shock” tactic aimed at scaring users off the highly addictive drug, according to Yahoo News.

Three wastewater treatment plants have been chosen for the test, which identifies metabolites – a by-product excreted from meth users.

Ice pipe

A seized ice pipe in Melbourne. Photo: AAP

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Victoria trialled the test last year and found that 1 in 20 people tested had consumed a hit of methamphetamine.

The results are expected to be higher in Western Australia, however, which holds the national high at 3.8 per cent of its population compared to national average of 2.1 per cent.

“Sometimes you need shock value,” Ms Harvey told Yahoo News.

“When you see the volume of metabolites from methamphetamine digestion in the wastewater treatment plants, you start to get an idea of the level of use.”

In June, The Australian reported that the Australian Crime Commission handed a report to the National Ice Task Force which recommended analysing wastewater in order to map the use of ice in Australia.

The testing was considered more accurate than hospital admission data or surveys, which are often not taken by drug users.

In June, the Northern Territory Police Force advised parliament to also consider the approach up north.

It’s believed the test could give a better idea of the amount of non-dependent ice users, who are less likely to be recorded otherwise.

The extreme tactic comes off the back of a new “meth enforcement action plan” in WA, which aims to disrupt supply lines in what’s been touted as the biggest police effort to curb a single drug since heroin in the 1990s.

The new plan will target drug transit routes and money trails.

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