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France Drug Use Facts, Policies & Trends

  1. According to "France Drug Situation 2000," a report prepared for the European Union's European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction, "The Law of 1970 makes public or private use punishable by one year in prison and/or a fine, even if there has not been a perceptible negative impact upon those in the user's entourage. Another of the law's articles is out of the realm of practicality even if it attests to the ambiguous legal status of users (both delinquent and ill). Users may avoid proceedings by spontaneously seeking treatment. The provisions for anonymity guarantee that the Law will not ask for any explanations after treatment. It is also possible to escape proceedings if the prosecutor decides to close the matter or rules for a court-ordered treatment programme."

    Source: Report to the European Monitoring Center on Drugs and Drug Addiction by the Reitox National Focal Point of France, l'Observatoire francais des drogues et des toxicomanies (OFDT), "France Drug Situation 2000" (Paris, France: OFDT and EMCDDA, December 2000), p. 9.

  2. "In France prohibition and punishment of simple drug use has provoked a strong debate for decades. In June 1999 a Directive of the Ministry of Justice asked prosecutors to prioritise treatment approaches for petty offenders both related to drug use or to other small crimes. Particularly where problematic drug users are concerned, the recommendation of the Directive is to apply therapeutic alternatives to prisons to the largest extent possible, while 'the imprisonment of drug users, not having committed other related offences, must be the last resort.' (citing the French Minister of Justice NOR JUS A 9900148C, June 17, 1999)

    Source: "Decriminalisation in Europe? Recent Developments in Legal Approaches to Drug use" (Lisbon, Portugal: European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction, November 2001), p. 6, available on the web at http://wldd.emcdda.org/databases/eldd_comparative_analyses.cfm.

  3. According to "France Drug Situation 2000," a report prepared for the European Union's European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction, "In polls before 1999, the majority view which appeared to be defined is that prosecutions and legal penalties should be imposed on consumers of heroin and of cocaine (85% in favour), of cannabis (70%) or of alcohol (approx. 50%). However, polling of such opinions is very sensitive to the way in which questions are put: three quarters of interviewees in this way, were not in favour of the idea that drug addicts should be punished. Likewise, if the person and his individual freedom are emphasised rather than the legal aspects of the question of utilisation, then one third of interviewees, as in 1999, will be induced to express their consent for the proposal according to which the prohibition of smoking cannabis is an infringement of the right for free utilisation of one's own body."

    Source: Report to the European Monitoring Center on Drugs and Drug Addiction by the Reitox National Focal Point of France, l'Observatoire francais des drogues et des toxicomanies (OFDT), "France Drug Situation 2000" (Paris, France: OFDT and EMCDDA, December 2000), p. 18.

  4. France Drug Use Statistics

  5. According to "France Drug Situation 2000," a report prepared for the European Union's European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction, "Alcohol and tobacco consumption levels are by far those which cause the most serious extent of damage, either on the health or social level, or with regard to potential dependency."

    Source: Report to the European Monitoring Center on Drugs and Drug Addiction by the Reitox National Focal Point of France, l'Observatoire francais des drogues et des toxicomanies (OFDT), "France Drug Situation 2000" (Paris, France: OFDT and EMCDDA, December 2000), p. 29.

  6. According to "France Drug Situation 2000," a report prepared for the European Union's European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction, "In 1999, 21.1% of individuals from 12 to 75 years old stated that they had already consumed an illegal substance in their lifetime and 7.6% over the last 12 months."

    Source: Report to the European Monitoring Center on Drugs and Drug Addiction by the Reitox National Focal Point of France, l'Observatoire francais des drogues et des toxicomanies (OFDT), "France Drug Situation 2000" (Paris, France: OFDT and EMCDDA, December 2000), p. 31.

  7. According to "France Drug Situation 2000," a report prepared for the European Union's European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction, "According to Adult 'heath barometer' surveys, cannabis consumption significantly increased between 1992 and 1999. Surveys conducted amongst young people, particularly in a school environment, confirmed this development, which is also reflected in the 1998 young people's 'health barometer' (refer the section on young people's consumption). All of these surveys tend to confirm the comments made on site: the usage of cannabis is becoming more commonplace."

    Source: Report to the European Monitoring Center on Drugs and Drug Addiction by the Reitox National Focal Point of France, l'Observatoire francais des drogues et des toxicomanies (OFDT), "France Drug Situation 2000" (Paris, France: OFDT and EMCDDA, December 2000), p. 33.

  8. According to "France Drug Situation 2000," a report prepared for the European Union's European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction, "The determinable turnover for illicit drugs (cannabis and heroin) using the assumptions retained could reach nearly 9 billion francs. By modifying certain parameters in the plausible margins, one may likely obtain variations in expenditures that could double. The assumptions made here and the reasoning used lead us to consider that the turnover for cannabis and heroin should not be over 20 billion francs or go under 4 billion francs."

    Source: Report to the European Monitoring Center on Drugs and Drug Addiction by the Reitox National Focal Point of France, l'Observatoire francais des drogues et des toxicomanies (OFDT), "France Drug Situation 2000" (Paris, France: OFDT and EMCDDA, December 2000), p. 72.

  9. France Harm Reduction

  10. "In France, a law passed in August 2004 adopting the fiveyear public health policy plan incorporates the policy on harm reduction for drug users into the public health regulations, giving harm reduction an official definition and bringing it within the jurisdiction of the state."

    Source: "Annual Report 2005: The State of the Drugs Problem in Europe," European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 2005), p. 23.

  11. According to "France Drug Situation 2000," a report prepared for the European Union's European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction, "A limited number of alternative forms of low-threshold care are available to drug users in France. These include a syringe exchange programme, boutiques, sleep-ins and mobile facilities such as methadone buses, introduced in Paris in 1998 and more recently in Marseilles."

    Source: Report to the European Monitoring Center on Drugs and Drug Addiction by the Reitox National Focal Point of France, l'Observatoire francais des drogues et des toxicomanies (OFDT), "France Drug Situation 2000" (Paris, France: OFDT and EMCDDA, December 2000), p. 98.

  12. According to "France Drug Situation 2000," a report prepared for the European Union's European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction, "Sales of syringes to drug users by pharmacies were estimated at 13.8 million in 1997.... Syringes are also distributed free under syringe exchange schemes. Some of these are agreed and financed by the directorate-general of health, and others are paid for in various ways. A survey of syringe exchange schemes estimated that they distributed 1.5 million in 1996; we do not have any figures for 1997, but they are probably fairly similar. The schemes accounted for only about 10% to 11% of total syringes distributed to drug users during the year."

    Source: Report to the European Monitoring Center on Drugs and Drug Addiction by the Reitox National Focal Point of France, l'Observatoire francais des drogues et des toxicomanies (OFDT), "France Drug Situation 2000" (Paris, France: OFDT and EMCDDA, December 2000), p. 99.

  13. According to "France Drug Situation 2000," a report prepared for the European Union's European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction, "The number of new drug-related AIDS cases fell sharply in 1996 and 1997. However, the same was true of all cases irrespective of the cause of infection, and the trend is linked to the effectiveness of tritherapy treatments introduced in 1996. When it comes to assessing the impact of syringe accessibility, it is more relevant to observe trends in the rates of HIV positivity among intravenous drug users. This is not monitored statistically in France, unlike new cases of AIDS. However, a number of surveys have shown a decline in seroconversion and the prevalence of HIV in those who inject drugs."

    Source: Report to the European Monitoring Center on Drugs and Drug Addiction by the Reitox National Focal Point of France, l'Observatoire francais des drogues et des toxicomanies (OFDT), "France Drug Situation 2000" (Paris, France: OFDT and EMCDDA, December 2000), p. 100.

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