OFDT missions and activities: purpose and surveys

The OFDT aims to enlighten its founding members, the public authorities, professionals in the field and the general public on the phenomenon of licit and illicit drugs and addiction trends, including gambling.

Since 1 July 2020, as part of the implementing provisions of the PACTE law (Law of 22 May 2019), the OFDT has taken over the task of monitoring gambling.

The OFDT produces scientific knowledge directly and promotes it through three types of tools

1) National epidemiological surveys

  • In the general population, in particular among teenagers with the survey on Health and Use on National Defence and Citizenship Day (ESCAPAD) and the National Adolescent Health and Substance Use survey in middle and high schools (EnCLASS), and among adults, with the survey on Representations, Opinions and Perceptions regarding Psychoactive Drugs (EROPP) and the use of data from the Barometer in conjunction with the French Public Health Agency (SpF).
  • In specific populations, in particular a survey on Health and Substances in Prison (ESSPRI) and a survey on the profile of patients consulting addiction treatment facilities (RECAP).

2) Qualitative observation systems that make an active contribution to drug-related health monitoring

The TREND and SINTES regional co-ordinations analyse changes in user populations (products in circulation, contexts of use and user profiles) on an annual basis.

The OFDT participates in the national alert system “signal drogues” coordinated by the National health directorate (French Ministry of Health) and is the European Drugs Agency’s contact for the European psychoactive substance alert (Early Warning System).

3) Analyses of supply, licit and illicit markets and public policies

The OFDT’s work aims to take account of social inequalities and territorial disparities, with particular attention paid to ultra-marine territories, and to put national data into perspective with the international context (see in particular the Drugs, International Challenges collection).

The OFDT analyses and summarises available data on drug and addictive behaviours from various sources (including ministerial statistical services), with a view to making evidence-based information available.

The function of centralising and disseminating knowledge on the phenomena of use and trafficking is further enhanced by the OFDT's role as a reference point for national documentation on drugs and addiction trends.

The OFDT also plays a role in assisting public decision-making by helping to monitor national plans to combat addiction.

The OFDT is the National Focal Point for the European Information Network on Drugs and Drug Addiction (REITOX) coordinated by the European Union Drugs Agency (EUDA)

The mission of this European agency is to provide objective, reliable, and comparable information on the phenomenon of illicit drugs and their consequences at the European Union level (including the 27 EU Member States, Norway, Turkey, and the European Commission).

The mandate of this agency has been extended, and it will become the European Union Drugs Agency (EUDA) on 1 July 2024.

The OFDT is particularly involved in the preparation of EUDA’s new mandate, which concerns three key areas: the observation and monitoring of illicit drugs; the anticipation and analysis of threats relating to the spread of substances; and the development of good practice.

The OFDT fulfils a number of contractually-defined obligations on behalf of France, including the collection of five “key indicators” in accordance with the protocols defined in the EUDA, for which it is helping to improve the methodological basis.

The OFDT relies on a three-year work programme to carry out its work

Conducted with the support of the Scientific Committee, the OFDT's work programme was drawn up after extensive consultation with its governing bodies, its institutional partners and experts, researchers and players in the field of drugs and addictive behaviour.

Through its permanent observation system, its support activity for public authorities and the European Drugs Agency (EMCDDA), as well as one-off projects carried out on themes identified as priorities, the OFDT is responding to 5 defined areas of work:

  • Ensure regular measurement of drug use and addictive behaviour
  • Describe the trajectories and care pathways of drug users
  • Improve knowledge of drug supply and markets
  • Report on the social and health consequences of drugs and addiction and analyse the conditions under which public responses are implemented and their impacts;
  • Strengthen international monitoring and comparative approaches

Three dimensions are transversal to each OFDT analysis, which are gender; social inequalities in health; and territorial specificities.

All OFDT publications may be accessed free of charge

The OFDT produces around thirty documents a year, including the bimonthly Tendances, which presents in 4 to 8 pages the original results of the major national surveys and scientific observations carried out by the OFDT (more than a hundred issues since 1999).

This collection is supplemented by annual reviews, methodological notes, detailed results of studies and research, and literature reviews.