Annual reports sent to the EMCDDA (European monitoring center for drugs and drug addiction), giving an overview of the latest developments on the drug problem in France.


National report to the EMCDDA - 2008 

It was against the backdrop of a difficult financial climate that on July 9, 2008, the president of the Interministerial Mission for the Fight against Drugs and Drug Addiction (Mission Interministérielle de Lutte contre les Drogues et la Toxicomanie, MILDT), Etienne Apaire, unveiled the governmental programme for the fight against drugs for the period 2008-2011, drawn up to accompany the Addiction Plan (see NR 2007). From an institutional viewpoint, we should mention the publication of a second decree-law concerning the financing of the Centres for Treatment, Assistance and Prevention of Addiction (Centres de soins, d’accompagnement et de prévention en addictologie, CSAPAs), which include the Specialised Centres for Drug Addicts (Centres spécialisés de soins pour toxicomanes, CSSTs), and the Outpatient Alcoholism Treatment Centres (Centres de cure ambulatoire en alcoologie, CCAAs).

The year 2007 made it possible to finalise the processing and use of several surveys carried out among the general population, and in particular the 2005 Health Barometer (second part). The only new aspects available during the first half of 2008 were the first results from the HBSC survey concerning health and drug use among the 11-15 age group. The 2007 ESPAD survey is still being analysed. The 2008 ESCAPAD project has been successfully carried through, with the publication of the first results scheduled for early 2009.

The ReLION 2007 data has confirmed the trend towards targeted prevention in educational environments (third part). The year 2007 also saw the launch of the first cannabis outpatient clinics, one of the MILDT's showcase measures. These are paid awareness-building courses proposed to young drug users arrested by the police, as an alternative to taking the matter before the courts.

The fourth part offers a new estimate of the number of problem drug users (according to EMCDDA’s definition) during 2006. We also present the results from the first CAARUD survey. As an exhaustive national survey, it accompanies the useful contributions made by the PRELUD survey. This survey confirms the somewhat ambiguous role of HDB, which is often cited by patients as the most problematic substance (causing medical, psychological or social problems). The survey also made it possible to observe the widening gap between older users, who are aware of harm reduction issues and younger users, who are more inclined to take risks (including the sharing of injection equipment).

France is still characterised by the high prevalence of HDB used as an opioid substitute method with, however, a number of changes being noted: while three quarters of opioid users receiving treatment at the start of the 2000s were using Subutex®, methadone has been increasingly making a comeback since 2004, and now covers the needs of almost 30% of users undergoing treatment. For its part, the share of morphine sulfate is believed to be marginal (under 5%). Access to methadone in prisons appears to be a reality.

With the exception of DRAMES, (describing the poly-drug use patterns observed), for 2007 we have no new data concerning the mortality levels for each of the various uses of illegal substances. New analyses are currently underway. Since December 2007, we have noted an increase in the number of deaths caused by opioid overdoses in eastern France, concerning a section of the population unknown to the specialised treatment centres. Regarding comorbidity, the data confirms a slowdown in the number of new cases of contamination by HIV and hepatitis C among the drug injecting population (please also see part seven).

The results shown in the eighth part confirm a continued increase in the number of drug law offences up until 2007, with cannabis remaini ng the leading substance resulting in arrests. The same applies for convictions, even if the only data available to us dates from 2006. It should be noted that this data is accompanied by a specific in-depth explanation (point 13 at the end of the report).

The prevention of offences (in the ninth part) chiefly focuses on saliva tests aimed at detecting the presence of illegal substances among drivers. These tests have been approved by the government for widespread use, which should begin in 2008, despite the reservations of the medical community concerning their effectiveness.

The tenth part discusses the significant increase in seizures of illegal substances by the Police, Gendarmerie and Customs departments. At the same time, the TREND data confirms an increase in retail prices of the main drugs, even if it is difficult to establish a simple cause and effect relationship between reduced supply and the impact on prices in the street.

The 2008 selected issue focuses on arrest and sentencing statistics for drug law offences. The first part discusses the French legal framework for drug law offences in terms of the trafficking, dealing and use of illegal substances. The second part includes a presentation of the main sources of information (the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Justice). The third part presents an overview of the latest available statistics.

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Download Selected issue : Arrest and sentencing statistics for drug law offences


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