National Wastewater Testing Programme - Quarter 4 2020

National Wastewater Testing Programme - Quarter 4 2020

Date Published: 
May 2021

Results are now available for the fourth quarter 2020 (Q4 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 findings: October – December 2020 (Q4 2020)

  • Average weekly use of the drugs detected in Q4 2020 had an estimated street value of $8.5 million dollars.


  • Methamphetamine use remained consistent throughout Q4 2020 to a weekly average of 12.6 kilograms. This consumption is the same amount as reported in Q3 2020, however there was a decrease of 10 percent when compared with Q4 2019 (which had an estimated consumption of 14 kilograms).
  • Northland, Bay of Plenty and Eastern districts again had the highest methamphetamine consumption per capita.


  • MDMA consumption had a weekly average of 9.7 kilograms during Q4 2020. This was another increase when compared with Q3 2020, where the average weekly consumption was 8.8 kilograms.
  • Southern, Canterbury and Eastern districts had the highest MDMA consumption per capita.


  • The average national weekly consumption of cocaine was 0.5 kilograms during Q4 2020. This is a slight increase when compared with Q3 2020 where 0.4 kilograms was consumed.
  • Tāmaki Makaurau, Wellington and Southern districts had the highest cocaine consumption per capita.

Fentanyl and Heroin

  • Fentanyl and heroin were rarely detected above the limit of quantification in Q4 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.