The prevalence of problem drug use in France : estimates for 2006


The prevalence of problem drug use in France : estimates for 2006

Tendances n° 69, OFDT, 4 p.
December 2009

Estimating the number of drug users is vital in order to assess treatment requirements. It also provides a realistic basis upon which to measure the social cost of drug problems. This is therefore a vital task for national monitoring centres such as OFDT, the role of which is to provide assistance in public decision-making. Additionally, at a European level, for more than 10 years now the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), (which has made this data one of its five key indicators1), has sought to supply comparable national estimates of the prevalence of the most problematic forms of drug use, which cannot be measured by general population surveys.
Since 2005, all countries have been in a position to produce an estimate of the national prevalence of Problem Drug Use (PDU) based on the definition and the methodological guidelines issued by the EMCDDA («injecting drug use or long duration /regular use of opioids, cocaine and/or amphetamines»). Many of these estimates are based on the results from several estimation methods which increases both their comparability and reliability. The most recent data is available in the EMCDDA’s annual report.
A series of studies and research initiatives have been carried out by the OFDT during recent years in order to draw up a new estimate of the number of problem drug users in France. This estimate, which is based on data from 2006, follows on from those previously drafted in 1995 and 1999. This work also seeks to estimate the number of regular users of heroin in addition to injecting drug users. Accompanied by the relevant methodological notes, this detailed information was presented in the report quoted in the references. In addition to presenting the main results, this issue of Tendances examines changes in this data over time and compares it to that obtained from other European countries.

Author :
Jean-Michel Costes

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