Latest news on synthetic drugs - April 2018

April 2018 – Australia: Two men charged with importing 94kg of illicit drugs in caravan

91 kg of MDMA and 3 kg of 3,4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) and methamphetamine were seized in Sydney, Australia, and two men were caught. The seized drugs were hidden in a caravan, and shipped by cargo from the United Kingdom (UK). According to the Australian authorities, the seized drugs have an estimated street value of more than $5 million Australian dollar.

Photo copyright ©: Australian Border Force

The amount of MDMA seized in Australia rose significantly in 2016, amounting to more than 16 million tablets. The sharp rise was due to a single seizure case reported in October in that year, which was involved with 1.2 metric tons of the drug.

MDMA seizures in Australia, 2012 - 2016

*Note: seizures reported in kg format were converted into 300 mg per tablet.
Source: UNODC Annual Report Questionnaires (ARQ) for Australia

For more information, please see


April 2018 – Australia: Drug checking services provide important forensic information for early warning and harm reduction

In a “Global review of drug checking services operating in 2017” the Australian Drug Policy Modelling Program (DPMP) analysed the features of 31 drug checking services operating in 20 countries across Europe, the Americas and Australasia. This report shows that there has been a strong increase in the number of organisations conducting drug checking and that they are employing a breadth of analytic techniques to identify and quantify the contents of drug samples. All drug checking services communicate their forensic results directly to individual service users and more than half also alert the public, health/welfare/outreach, researchers and promoters/event managers of the test results. Alongside the feedback about the drug sample’s content, almost every service provides a brief intervention and most provide harm reduction information. When particularly dangerous drug samples are identified, drug checking services can play a role in issuing early warning alerts and informing specific harm reduction interventions.

Figure: Number of drug checking services operating in 2017 worldwide

For more information, please see

Drug Policy Modelling Program (DPMP) Bulletin – “Global review of drug checking services operating in 2017”

Profiles of drug checking services in 2017