National Wastewater Testing Programme - Quarter 2 2020

National Wastewater Testing Programme - Quarter 2 2020

Date Published: 
December 2020

Results are now available for the second quarter (Q2 2020) of nationwide wastewater testing, which covers around 75% of New Zealand’s population.

The drugs that have been tested for are methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, MDMA and fentanyl.

Key Update

The last quarterly report (Q1 2020) covered the period November 2019 to January 2020 (inclusive). Reporting of data for this time period was due to nationwide testing commencing in November 2018.

From this quarter (Q2 2020), quarterly reporting will occur in alignment with the calendar year for ease of comparison with other data sets.

The realignment of reporting quarters has resulted in February and March being excluded from quarterly reporting in 2020. February and March will however continue to be depicted in year-to-date national consumption trends (shown in National Overview graph).

This quarter of reporting captures the immediate effects of national restrictions implemented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The significant changes in the post-COVID-19 environment, as well as the shift in quarterly reporting periods, mean that Q2 2020 is not easily comparable to previously reported quarters. Due to Covid, April results have also been excluded from Q2 2020 data as only three of the 45 sites were able to provide samples during this time due.

Key findings: April 2020 – June 2020 (Q2 2020)

  • Average weekly use of the drugs detected in Q2 2020 had an estimated street value of $6.8 million.


  • Methamphetamine use decreased significantly throughout Q2 2020 and observed the lowest weekly average use since national testing began (9.9 kg in Q2 2020).
  • Methamphetamine use was most prevalent per capita in the Bay of Plenty, Eastern, and Northland Police Districts in Q2 2020.


  • MDMA consumption decreased in Q2 2020 and is down to a weekly average of 7.1 kg.
  • MDMA use was most prevalent per capita in Southern District throughout Q2 2020, followed by Canterbury and Wellington.


  • National cocaine consumption decreased to a weekly average of 0.1 kg in Q2 2020.
  • In Q2 2020, per capita cocaine use was again significantly higher in the Tamaki Makaurau region than anywhere else in the country.

Fentanyl and Heroin

  • Fentanyl and heroin were rarely detected above the limit of quantification in Q2 2020 and no patterns of use are apparent. These results are consistent with other indicators that the opiate user population in New Zealand is very low.