Latest news on synthetic drugs - January 2018

January 2018 – Australia: Wastewater analysis identifies low levels of NPS

Based on wastewater analysis of 54 wastewater treatment plants across Australia in August 2017, the National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program detected methylone and mephedrone, but at levels that were lower than other substances included in the analysis. Mephedrone was detected 11 times across 7 sites in Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia, while methylone was detected 90 times across 22 sites in all states and territories of Australia with the exceptions of the Australian Capital Territory and South Australia. However, the quantities of both detected NPS were below the level at which these could reliably be quantified. Although methods for measuring the synthetic cannabinoids JWH-018 and JWH-073 were included in the analysis, these NPS were not detected in wastewater in the country. Based on these findings, the National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program suspects that methylone, mephedrone, JWH-018 and JWH-073 represent niche markets in Australia.

It is also important to note that the estimated overall average consumption of fentanyl and oxycodone were found to be higher than the estimated consumption of heroin and cocaine, based on the results of the wastewater analysis. Although the estimated consumption of fentanyl has decreased in Australia since August 2016, fentanyl consumption remained high at several regional sites, particularly in South Australia.

For more information, please see:
Report of the National Wastewater and Drug Monitoring Program

UNODC Report - “Fentanyl and its analogues - 50 years on”


January 2018 – Myanmar: Record amounts of drugs seized in Shan State

The Ministry of Home Affairs of Myanmar announced that 1.75 tons of crystalline methamphetamine, 30 million methamphetamine tablets, 529 kg of heroin, as well as 200 kg of caffeine were seized through a joint operation between its military and police.

The drugs were seized at a house in Shan State's Kutkai township and were intended to be trafficked to neighboring countries.

Photo copyright ©: Ministry of Home Affairs, Myanmar

For more information, please see (Burmese):


January 2018 – Indonesia: 40kg of methamphetamine seized in Aceh

The National Narcotics Agency (BNN) and the Directorate General of Customs and Excise of Indonesia seized about 40 kg of crystalline methamphetamine in Aceh Province, from a two-day operation, conducted on 10 – 11 January 2018.

The drug was trafficked from Penang, Malaysia, through the Strait of Malacca.

Photo copyright ©: Directorate General of Customs and Excise of Indonesia

For more information, please see (Indonesian):


January 2018 – Japan: Methamphetamine from Canada seized

The Japan Customs announced that they had seized nearly 10 kg of crystalline methamphetamine on 11 December 2017 from a Canadian male passenger travelling from Vancouver. The drug was found from a false bottom of a guitar case.

Photo copyright ©: Japan Customs

For more information, please see (Japanese):


January 2018 – Hong Kong, China: Ketamine shipped from Malaysia detected

Hong Kong Customs announced that they had seized 2 kg of ketamine at Hong Kong International Airport on January 14. About 2 kg of the drug was found from an air mail parcel shipped from Malaysia. Based on several recent ketamine seizure cases, there are indications that ketamine from countries in Southeast Asia is increasingly trafficked to Hong Kong, China.

Photo copyright ©: Customs and Excise Department, Hong Kong, China

For more information on this case, please see:

For more information on recent ketamine trafficking cases from Southeast Asia to Hong Kong, China, please see: