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New psychoactive Substances - Ten-year overview of the situation in France


Ten years after the emergence of NPS, the available data reveal lower detection rates for new substances, and their use is still somewhat limited in France. This has not prevented these substances from gaining a foothold in certain user circles and occasionally being sought after by a wider audience.
Supply and dynamics of the phenomenon, substances used, user profiles, health consequences: Tendances No. 127 covers the overall developments observed concerning these drugs. This is based on the knowledge developed by the OFDT via its TREND scheme, SINTES, the I-TREND project, and all information sources used by the French Monitoring Centre.

Two aspects specific to France may explain the limited impact of NPS. Firstly, there are no physical smartshops in France. The absence of such stores in France has slowed NPS consumption, particularly for brand-name substances. Furthermore, the editorial policy of French-speaking online discussion forums also plays a protective role: members are requested to only use the chemical names of the substances. This limits the visibility and appeal of substances for young users, along with the spread of inaccurate information.

Tobacco use, sales and prices: a European perspective


The objective of Tendances No. 126 is to offer a glimpse into tobacco use in Western countries, using prevalence surveys, annual data on tobacco sales and average tobacco prices.

This is a complex undertaking as no international surveys have been conducted with a view to determining the prevalence of tobacco smoking in the population of each of these countries over the same year and, in particular, there have been no studies on current prices. Hence, comparison is only possible based on limited national or supranational surveys, not necessarily taking place over the same period or using the same methodology.

This Tendances thus brings these various data together, notably in the form of maps, to offer a comparison between the various countries and to put the situation in France into perspective.

Drugs and developement: new prospects ahead?


The objective of Drugs, international challenges N° 11 is to take stock of the relations sustained by drug control and development policies, initially returning to the concept of “alternative development” so as to clarify its intricacies and limitations. A second part explores the emergence of a new conception of the issue, drawing on lessons learned from previous setbacks.

After simply being secondary to eradication policies, alternative development is now envisaged more as an instrument of long-term strategies and socioeconomic integration policies adapted to the territories concerned, taking into account all aspects of the rural condition, together with the primary local drivers to illicit cultivation: ranging from access to land, to participation in political life, through viable integration in economic circuits. Although this general approach to drug control policy is still in the early stages, this new focus currently at work and its tentative applications in the field bring the possibility of a development-oriented drug policy to the table, as a legitimate and credible alternative to the strategies followed over the past forty or so years.

Drug use in 17-year-olds: analysis of the 2017 ESCAPAD survey


For the ninth time since the implementation of the ESCAPAD  survey, the French Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (OFDT) and the Youth and National Service Directorate of the Ministry of the Armed Forces interviewed a sample of young people aged 17 years, taking part in the National Defence and Citizenship Day (JDC). In March 2017, 46,054 young participants completed an anonymous questionnaire on their health and psychoactive substance use. Since the first edition of ESCAPAD, in 2000, nearly 240,000 adolescents have been interviewed in this way. This survey, unusual owing to its large sample size, has proven to be a valuable instrument for shedding light on the evolution of substance use and addictive behaviours in late adolescence in France.

Tendances No. 123 presents the main findings of the most recent ESCAPAD survey, conducted in 2017. It first examines the major changes in terms of use for the three main substances used at this age (tobacco, alcohol and cannabis), paying particular attention to the changes observed in 2017. The analysis then turns to illicit or diverted substances, used by a smaller proportion of adolescents, but which also show marked variations in their consumption.

Tobacco smoking and tobacco cessation in 2017


The downward trend in official tobacco sales observed in 2016 has been confirmed in 2017 (characterised by a very powerful symbolic measure, plain packaging) with the marked decline in roll-your-own tobacco owing to its lower price. As in 2016, all indicators relating to tobacco cessation point to an improvement, with sales of tobacco cessation treatments reaching a record level, due to higher National Health Insurance Fund reimbursement rates. Furthermore, the Tobacco Information Service telephone helpline/website is attracting ever more users, as part of the growing appeal surrounding the second year of the #MoisSansTabac campaign. Read our memo.

Perceptions, motives and trajectories associated with drug use in adolescents


The ARAMIS study (Attitudes, perceptions, aspirations and motives surrounding the introduction to psychoactive substances) aims to explore the perceptions and motives for drug use among minors, and their trajectories for alcohol, tobacco, cannabis and/or other illicit drug use. Why do adolescents get to use psychoactive substances? Why do some develop substance use habits while others manage to limit their use? In order to explore these fundamental questions, a vast interview campaign was carried out between 2014 and 2017 among 200 minors with diverse social profiles, enhanced by direct observations. The sample includes the generation born between 1996 and 2002 (aged 13 to barely 18 years at the time of the survey), who grew up in the context of an economic crisis and endemic unemployment. Tendances No. 122 offers an initial summary of the results of this undertaking, which opens up numerous lines of reflection, helpful for prevention strategies.

Psychoactive substances, users and markets: recent trends (2016-2017)


Since 1999, the OFDT TREND scheme (Emerging Trends and New Drugs) has been monitoring current trends and those concerning emerging phenomena in the field of drugs. Based on the network of eight local TREND coordination schemes, it aims to identify, but also to understand the changes at work affecting user profiles, patterns and contexts of use and sale, together with the characteristics of substances and harms associated with their use.

Tendances No 123 (8 p.) presents the key findings of the seventeenth observation period, which focuses on 2016 and early 2017. Three aspects are highlighted as these correspond to new or recurrent situations which are a cause for concern on a health and social level: the purity and new-found accessibility of cocaine in France; the specific problem relating to unaccompanied minors1, who are made even more vulnerable by substance use behaviours; and the growing geographical areas with renewed heroin trafficking, now with a substance more appealing to users. The second part will touch on the continuation of phenomena already described in previous years: the spread of chemsex practices2; the extreme poverty facing homeless users; the newly blurred boundaries between diverse populations liable to facilitate the diffusion of psychotropic substance use; the ever-increasing violence in trafficking; the continuing changes in cannabis supply and, lastly, an update on new psychoactive substances. Other aspects will finally be touched on more briefly; these concern cannabis, fentanyl derivatives and the continuing growth in demand for paraphernalia for smoking crack.

Despite the significant changes in drug use and drug markets since the beginning of the 2000s, the already established phenomena seem particularly worrying. In particular, contrary to expectations at the beginning of the decade, NPS have not yet revolutionised the drugs sector in mainland France. The long-term use of some of these substances has, however, become established, notably with the radical increase in high-risk behaviours related to chemsex practices.

The 2016-2017 period is notably characterised by "classical" substance use and problems driven by contextual factors, which are always difficult to control, whether concerning the profitability of trafficking or the socio-economic crisis. Hence, the growing proportion of the herbal cannabis market; intensified cocaine diffusion; the changes in the heroin market; or the renewed popularity of ecstasy tablets among younger populations, as well as the precarious living conditions facing the homeless display a certain degree of continuity compared to previous years.

"25x-NBOMe" type molecules - Available information on the diffusion of a class of NPS in France


Within the vast category of new psychoactive substances, 25x-NBOMe or NBOMe represents a group of compounds in the phenethylamine family, which mainly has a hallucinogenic and psychedelic effect in particular. These compounds, which are sometimes sold and used instead of LSD, have emerged on the French market over the past five years.

Based on the different activities carried out by the TREND-SINTES schemes and the I-TREND European project, this summary attempts to explain how 25x-NBOMe were able to attract obvious interest among certain users. It describes the way in which these substances have established a presence in France, according to a relatively symbolic diffusion pattern for new hallucinogenic substances. This analysis also focuses on the prospects for changes and the limits of their presence on French territory. Lastly, it presents and describes their inherent challenges and problems, particularly in relation to health.

Captagon: deconstructing the myth


Issue n°10 of Drugs, international challenges was prepared by an EMCDDA specialist of drug supply issues, reflecting both organisations’ common objective of putting the available evidence into perspective so as to shed light on little known or misconstrued problems.
This issue deals with a sensitive issue: captagon, a drug that has made big headlines in France and in many other countries since the terrorist attacks of November 2015.
Based on important field work in Lebanon and on the analysis of a large body of literature, this issue offers reliable answers to some questions and suggests directions for further research on aspects where evidence is lacking, all the while steering well clear of fanciful speculation.
It thus puts the so-called “terrorist drug” to the test, and offers a sensible, dispassionate overview resulting in a reasoned analysis of an ill-understood phenomenon at the source of much confusion.

CAARUD client profiles and practices in 2015


Support centres for the reduction of drugrelated harms (CAARUDs) are designed to carry out harm reduction measures aimed at psychoactive substance users. Tendances No 120 presents the 2015 results of a national survey of users attending these centres, named “ENa-CAARUD”.

French National Report 2017


Each year, like all the other Reitox focal points in Europe, the OFDT submits to the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) its national report on the state of the drug phenomenon in France.

The 2017 report is divided in 10 workbooks: Drug Policy, Legal Framework, Drugs, Prevention, Treatment, Best Practice, Harms and Harm Reduction, Drug Market and Crime, Prison and Research.

Drugs in Europe

2018 EMCDDA European Drug Report

EDR2018web.jpgWhat do the latest data tell us about the European drug market? What are the new trends in drug use among European adults and school students? What are the harms associated with drug use and what is being done to counter them? These and other questions are explored in the 2018 EMCDDA European Drug Report.

  Country drug reports 2017

miniCountryProfiles.jpgDeveloped by the EMCDDA, in cooperation with the Reitox national focal points, these graphic-rich reports cover: drug use and public health problems; drug policy and responses and drug supply.

The European Union and the drug phenomenon

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