National Report 2009 - Download chapter by chapter
Chapter 1 : Drug policy: legislation, strategies and economic analysis
A circular (may 2008) has stated once more that all persons using even relatively small amounts of illegal drugs may be sentenced with penalties. April 16, 2008 decree states that drug treatment and screening orders must now be delivered within a 6-month period, and can be renewed three times. A circular of February 2008 establishes the centres de soins, d'accompagnement et de prévention en addictologie (Addictology Treatment, support and Prevention Centres, CSAPAs) to replace the centres spécialisés de soins aux toxicomanes (Specialised Centres for Drug Addicts, CSSTs) and the centres de cure ambulatoire en alcoologie (Outpatient Alcoholism Treatment Centres, CCAAs). An interministerial circular of February 2008 give details on the extension of clinics for young drug users, extending regional coverage of therapeutic communities, improving the content and continuity of the treatment provided to drug users in penal environment.
Chapter 2 : Drug use in the general population and specific targeted-groups
There is no new available information on trends in drug use among the adult population. But surveys have shown (among the youth aged 16 years old) large reductions in the spread of tobacco and cannabis use, and also a stabilisation or even a fall in alcohol drunkenness. Among the young people aged 17 and 18 years old, there is a fall in regular alcohol use, a modest increase in the number of cases in which 5 glasses of alcohol were drunk on a single occasion, and the increase in the spread of cocaine, amphetamines, crack, heroin and GHB, although the use of these products remains marginal. Average ages for experimenting with tobacco and cannabis have risen for the first time in eight years.
Chapter 3 : Prevention
Concerning selective prevention, for the first time ever, people from French Overseas Departments and Territories, on the one hand, and foreign residents on the other, will constitute the specific target public of media campaigns. The minimum age for the purchase of alcohol has been raised from 16 to 18 and binge drinking is on the spot. An interministerial circular published by the end of 2008 aims at consolidating the network for counselling and support for parents (REAAP), created in 1999 in order to boost the parents skills and responsibility to prevent drug use.
Chapter 4 : Problem drug use
The final results of the NEMO study allows to give an estimate range between 210 000 and 250 000 of problem drug users in France in 2006 (a central estimation of 230,000), of which half involved in opiate substitution treatment. It is estimated that 120 000 people have used opiate substitution drugs in the first half of 2007.
Chapter 5 : Drug-related treatment: treatment demand and treatment availability
It is possible to estimate the number of people who sought help in the outpatient CSSTs in 2007 for their problems with illegal drugs at approximately 90,000. The number of people accommodated in residential treatment centres appears to be very low (fewer than 2,000). In those CSSTs located in penal establishments, the number of people welcomed for problems with illegal drugs is 4,700. In 2008, 140 outpatient CSSTs participated in RECAP, equivalent to 65 % of all outpatient treatment centres. Around 41,000 patients started a new episode of treatment in one of these centres during the year. Those persons receiving treatment for the first time in their life accounted for 29 % of all new patients seen. The proportion of first-time treatment patients with opiates as the main drug was much lower than for all patients (33% vs 41%). Injecting was much less frequent in this group than among all treatment patients taken as a whole (13% vs 26%). Continuing increase in the average age for all patients beginning a new course of treatment, and for patients having never before been treated, has been noticed. This ageing effect appears to be related to a reduction in the percentage of 15- to 24-year-olds, and particularly the 15-19 age group, coupled with an increase in the number of people aged 40 and over. With regard to the main drugs involved there was a very slight increase in the percentage of cocaine and crack, which rose from 5.7% in 2005 to 7% in 2008. The percentage for heroin fluctuated around 32% and that for cannabis around 40%. With regard to patterns of use, the data for the years 2006 to 2008 show a slight reduction in injection in the "other opiates" category (43% of injectors in 2006 compared to 40% in 2008).
Chapter 6 : Health correlates and consequences
Although the number of new aids cases among intravenous drug users has been continuously falling since the mid-1990s, the prevalence of HIV among patients having already injected and of known serology is almost 8% and that of hepatitis C is 51%. The number of drug-related deaths has continued its upward trend since 2003. It may be explained by the wider availability of heroin and cocaine which prices have fallen considerably in recent years, by the misuse of substitution treatment and, in terms of demands, by the appearance of new users associated with the party scene.
Chapter 9 : Drug-related crime
The increase of arrests has been of 31% between 2007 and 2008, the vast majority of which are arrest for “One off” use of narcotics (85%). Sentencing has also increased notably between 2006 and 2007 (32% increase). France’s prison population continued to rise: on 31st December,, 2006, among the 41,920 detainees sentenced, 5,751 detainees had been sentenced for a drug-related offence as their main offence, accounting for 14% of the prison population. Oral fluid testing devices for the on-site screening of drivers suspected of having taken drugs have been introduced in the summer 2008. The Ministry of Justice set up a monitoring system to assess the implementation of the courses over the first year, during the last three trimesters of 2008 and the first trimester of 2009. A survey carried out in 2007 showed an increase in access to methadone in prisons.
Selected issue, chapter 11 : Cannabis markets and production
The cannabis market in France: between resin imports and home grown herbal cannabis
Today, it can be said that the cannabis market in France is a market reaching maturity. Apart from the high level of demand being met, a number of factors point to the fact that cannabis, or more precisely the market for THC, has made the transition from a monopolistic market to a competitive market, benefitting from technical innovations, and experiencing price variations and the differentiation of products based on their quality.
Selected issue, chapter 12 : Treatment and care for older drug users
The drug issue appeared in France at the end of the 1960s, and was seen as a problem essentially affecting young people at the time. Data available for the period 1993-2007 reveal a marked trend in the ageing of drug users seeking help in the specialised centres, the proportion of those aged 40 or over increasing from less than 4% to over 21%. Drug use, initially a symptom of troubled youth, progressively became a sign of the social crisis which affected France at the end of the 1970s and in the 1980s. The image, albeit very patchy, which emerges from the information available in the TDI on users aged 40 or over in contact with the care system is one of a population mainly with problem opiate and cocaine use.
Drugs in Europe
- 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.