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Young people and Addictions: an overview


Over the past twenty years, numerous undertakings by the French Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (OFDT) have focused on juvenile behaviours. A collective OFDT publication entitled Jeunes et addictions has just been published in French. This study of substance use throughout adolescence and early adulthood is essential as this is when certain addictive behaviours begin and can sometimes become established, based on initiation and experiences. This collective publication provides an analysis of psychoactive substance use and its impact according to a continuum covering nearly 15 years of life: from 11 to 25 years, i.e. approximately 12 million individuals in France. Tendances n° 114 provides a summary of this publication.

Overview of CAARUDs in 2014


The support centres for the reduction of drug-related harms (CAARUDs) represent a central aspect of the policy on harm reduction measures in France. These 144 centres are aimed at vulnerable populations exposed to major risk due to their substance use habits. Their missions are to prevent and reduce harm related to substance use and to improve the social situation of users. In order to achieve this, professionals inform users on the risks of the various substances and patterns of use, distribute sterile single-use supplies (syringes, crack pipes, snorting paraphernalia, injection and inhalation kits, etc.) and promote access to care and social entitlements. CAARUDs also carry out "social mediation" activities with a view to facilitating integration within their environment.

For the first time since this monitoring instrument was created, analysis of the 2014 CAARUD activity reports offers a comprehensive overview of the geographical coverage of the scheme, the resources used and the intervention capacities of the facilities. The CAARUDs play a central role in distributing prevention material, alone responsible for more than half (55%) of the syringes dispensed to injecting drug users. Although the true needs of drug users are difficult to identify, the difference in the situations is striking: location of CAARUDs restricted to large cities, varying and often fairly restricted opening times, very low representation of the female population. Although all CAARUDs everywhere share the same missions, the small teams in certain facilities, and the lack or inconsistency of professional qualifications at many facilities raise questions as to whether all users can have access to the same level of harm reduction services.

CSAPA clients - situation in 2014 and changes since 2007


Although the treatment and prevention centres for addiction (CSAPA) are primarily an instrument for treating addictions, whether psychoactive substance use (alcohol, illegal drugs) or non-substance addictions, they also represent a platform for observing individuals facing these problems, through  a national survey (Common Data Collection on Addictions and Treatments – RECAP) and common activity reports.

Tendances n° 110 focuses on the description, based on these two sources, of the characteristics of CSAPA clients in 2014, and the changes since 2007. In the years from 2007 to 2014, the CSAPA underwent major changes related to the expansion and redefinition of their missions. The number of clients increased by 10% between 2010 and 2014, and most certainly in a higher proportion between 2007 and 2014.

The most striking change occurring during this period is the reduction in the number of individuals describing heroin as the primary drug and the increase in the number of cannabis users.

French Antilles and Guiana : on the international cocaïne trafficking routes


2015 was marked by record cocaine seizures – close on 11 tonnes – on French territory. The scale of these seizures is largely due to the operations performed in the Caribbean zone with a high degree of French activity due to the presence of two French overseas departments, Martinique and Guadeloupe, and the collectivity of Saint-Martin. At the same time, the rise in cocaine seizures in Guiana, or originating from this territory, suggests that this French department in South America is in the process of becoming a major cocaine transit zone targeting not only France, but the Northern European market.

Drugs, International Challenges n° 9 examines these developments regarding the historical background of the issue.

Drug use during the « lycée years » - Results of the 2015 ESPAD survey in France


Since 1999, the quadrennial ESPAD survey conducted among 16-year-old teenagers attending school in the majority of European countries has included French students and enables comparison of psychoactive substance use, primarily alcohol, tobacco and cannabis. Since 2011 in France, the survey has been extended to all teenagers attending lycée, i.e. the last three years of secondary education, thus providing an opportunity to observe the diffusion of psychoactive substance use among teenagers through school. In 2015, 6,642 lycée students were therefore interviewed in mainland France.

Tendances n° 112 examines the initial results for mainland France, which generally provide appreciable insights into tobacco and alcohol use among lycée students since 2011, with daily tobacco use falling by more than 24% and a reduction of more than 30% in regular alcohol use. However, no changes were observed in regular cannabis use (7.7%) between 2011 and 2015, despite a slight reduction in lifetime use (at least one instance of use). Differences, sometimes striking, in use are observed between the main types of school (whether vocational or general), with smokers observed more frequently among students in the vocational sector (33.4% vs. 23.2% on average). Lastly, as an extension to the ESCAPAD and HBSC surveys in 2014, this analysis also provided an opportunity to determine shisha and e-cigarette use among teenagers.

New psychoactive substances: user profiles and pratices


An online survey among users of New Psychoactive Substances was conducted in France, the Netherlands, Poland and the Czech Republic in 2014, in the context of the I-TREND project, jointly funded by the European Commission. It aimed to gain greater insight into the profiles, motivations and practices of individuals having tried or using these substances.

Focusing on individuals having used a NPS in the last 12 months, Tendances n° 108 examines the contexts and reasons for use on the most recent occasion, together with practices in terms of use. It  then examines the channels used to purchase the products, notably online purchases, issues relating to information on NPS, ending with a brief insight into the opinion of the respondents on the properties and dangers of NPS compared to conventional drugs.

The evolution of population attending youth addiction outpatient clinic (CJC’s) 2014-2015


Since 2005, the French Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (OFDT) has been responsible for evaluating the youth addiction outpatient clinics (CJC) scheme, an initiative launched in 2004 by the French Ministry of Health, in conjunction with the French Interministerial Mission for Combating Drugs and Addictive Behaviours (MILDECA). This survey reveals the evolution of the population attending the clinics following a public communication campaign conducted by the French National Institute for Prevention and Health Education (INPES) at the start of the year 2015.

Tendances n° 107 examines the main findings identified in terms of the methods of entry and the characteristics of the clients accessing the facilities.

Legislation relating to cannabis use and possession: definitions and overview of the situation in Europe


Developed drawing on the references cited in the bibliography and with the help of legal experts and researchers specialising in penal matters, the latest note issued by the OFDT firstly presents a lexicon assembling a few proposals for the definition of the main terms used in the recurrent debates relative to the legal status of cannabis. This is followed by an overview of current legislation concerning cannabis use and possession in France and Europe, along with a comparison of the most significant legislative changes outside Europe.

Psychoactive substance use in France: recent trends (2014-2015)


Each year, since 1999, the Emerging Trends and New Drugs (TREND) scheme of the French Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (OFDT) describes the key and emerging developments in terms of illegal or misused substance use relying on local sites. The phenomena which emerge from this fifteenth year of observation are a continuation of the previous period, with problems related to social instability among users and the resulting tensions still in the spotlight. Changes in supply and trafficking, which now involve communication technologies, are also continuing. Lastly, Tendances n° 105 touches on the main substances, particularly new psychoactive substances (NPS), which occupy a growing place in substance use each year.

Tobacco smoking and tobacco cessation in 2015


The review on tobacco and tobacco smoking indicators in France brings together recent figures which vary in nature and origin. The annual 2015 review on tobacco has been drawn up from the monthly reports and presents them as a concise overview.
For the first time since 2010, French tobacco retailer sales have risen considerably, in a context where tobacco prices were not increased in France in 2015, and cross-border purchases generally appeared stable.

Alcohol, tobacco and cannabis use during « the collège years » in 2014


This new version of the French results of the most recent international "Health Behaviour in School-aged Children" survey (HBSC) specifically sheds light on the introduction to psychoactive substances among the younger generations aged 11 to 15. It provides an opportunity to identify the school ages in which the very first instances of use begin, and those in which this use develops and intensifies. Tendances n° 106 provides up-to-date figures on the levels of tobacco, alcohol and cannabis use in collège years in 2014, examining the changes in these practices since 2010. It is also an opportunity to broach electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) and shisha use among collège pupils, for the first time.

French National Report 2015: a new reporting package


According to the new national reporting system decided last year by the EMCDDA and the Reitox Focal Points, the OFDT has just published its National Report Package which draws an updated and comprehensive picture of the drug phenomenon at French level.
The 2015 report adopts a renewed framwork and is now divided in 10 workbooks: Drug Policy, Legal Framework, Drugs, Prevention, Treatment, Best Practice, Harms and Harm Reduction, Drug Market and Crime, Prison and Research.
The report delivers key information and figures. It comments on the latest figures regarding the prevalence of use in the population (adults and 17-year olds), treatment data and information on health issues and social consequences of drug abuse. With regard to drug markets, the document focuses on New Psychoactive Substances, as well as on established drugs.

Drug use in 17-year-olds: analysis of the ESCAPAD survey


Tendances n° 100 ("Trends") takes a look back at 15 years of monitoring of psychoactive substance use (both legal and illegal) in late adolescence in mainland France.
By providing a historical overview of the past 15 years, ESCAPAD surveys help us better understand and put into perspective the latest changes observed. While the 2014 survey indicated a strong rise in tobacco, alcohol and cannabis use, putting the figures into perspective showed that psychoactive substance use among 17-year-olds in 2014 nonetheless remained below the highest levels observed in the first decade of the 2000s.
The survey also revealed higher regular polydrug use of tobacco, alcohol and cannabis, with regular use of these three substances now appearing to be frequently combined. In parallel, while it demonstrated an overall fall in heavy episodic drinking behaviour, regular drinking continued to increase, now affecting 3% of adolescents. In addition, the 2014 results of the Cannabis Abuse Screening Test (CAST) express an increase in the prevalence of a risk of cannabis addiction.

The French penal response to driving under influence (of alcohol or other drugs)


In the French context of increased convictions for crimes and offences (+11% since 2000), the penal response rate has particularly risen for both drug-related offences (over 50,000 convictions per year, or an increase of 119%, and of these convictions, nearly 60% were for use, mainly cannabis use) and road traffic offences (240,000 convictions per year, up 35%, and six in 10 of these convictions were for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics). Tendances n° 91 examines law enforcement on driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, reviewing the most recent trends in road traffic controls and driving under the influence enforcement, as well as the criminal justice system response to these specific alcohol and drug issues. The analysis reveals a conspicuous intensification in roadside traffic controls and arrests as well as an obvious standardisation in the penalties applied to offenders, with higher proportions of fines. 

Posters for the Lisbon Addictions conference


Leading European and international experts in the field of addiction science meet in Lisbon on 23-25 September for the First European conference on addictive behaviours and dependencies. Showcasing the latest developments in addiction science, the conference will explore the topics of illicit drugs, alcohol, tobacco, gambling and other addictive behaviours. The event is hosted and steered by the Portuguese General-Directorate for Intervention on Addictive Behaviours and Dependencies (SICAD), in collaboration with: the scientific journal Addiction; the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) and the International Society of Addiction Journal Editors (ISAJE).

The OFDT made four posters for the conference. 

Levels of drugs use in France in 2014


Tendances n° 99 presents the results of the INPES 2014 Health Barometer. It provides an update on the levels of use of different legal and illegal substances in the adult population, and highlight changes in use since the early 1990s. Apart from the framework data on the entire population aged 11-75 years, these results concern the population aged 18-75 years for alcohol and tobacco, and 18-64 years for illegal drugs, while other specific surveys are used for adolescents (ESCAPAD 2014, HBSC 2014 and ESPAD 2015, the results of which are not yet available). 

Drugs in Europe

2016 EMCDDA European Drug Report

- Drug facts, figures and analyses: across Europe and by country
- Latest trends and legal, political and social responses
- Selected issues: Vulnerable groups of young people; National drug-related research in Europe; Towards a better understanding of drug-related public expenditure in Europe

Country situation summaries

The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) website has a concise overview for each EU Member State on their national drug situation, as well as legal texts in their original formats, an indispensable tool for monitoring and analysing legislative developments in the Member States.

The European Union and the drug phenomenon

The European Union & the drug phenomenon : Frequently asked questions , joint publication between the EMCDDA and the European Commission, october 2010, 12 p.