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Drug of Abuse around the world: Facts and Future - France


Drugs of abuse are an ongoing issue in many places and on many levels. Countries in Europe have distinct approaches on how they chose to address the issue. Hence, the impact of such policies or actions on the overall drug consumption is different.

Drug of Abuse in France: Facts and Future

Due to both its geographic and demographic size, France is an obvious contender for the opening position.

According to the Country Drug Report of 2019, cannabis is the most widely used illegal drug in France. Cannabis and cocaine have increased in use over the last two decades. At the same time, amphetamine and methamphetamine levels have been consistently low in the last few years, while MDMA consumption has varied in the last few years. The high-risk opioid use rate is at five out of 1000 adults.

The estimated social costs of illicit drugs were at EUR 8,700 million in 2010. The plan of action is to promote prevention, care and risk reduction, to step up the fight against trafficking,to improve the application of the law, to have more policies for combating drugs and addictive behaviors, to reinforce coordination at the national and international levels, etc. The previous action plan on drugs and addictive behaviors (2013-2017) had a budget. The current one (2018-2022) does not. Funds are however spent on demand reduction initiatives, supply reduction initiatives, cross-disciplinary activities, coordination and international cooperation.

Prevention and Drug Screening

The predominant type of prevention in France is universal prevention, which begins as early as secondary schools. The prevention of DOA use in the workplace, incorporating the use of drug screening, has been part a medical responsibility of occupational physicians since 2012. The new National Action Plan  ensures that managers and staff representatives undergo training for the better management of addictive behaviors in the workplace. At-risk neighborhoods are also the object of selective prevention, mostly carried out by specialist associations.

Hope for the Future

The same Action Plan aims to create facilities to reduce the risks and to complement the work of specialized drug treatment centers. These are funded directly by the social security system, aiming to also keep under control the potential harmful infections with HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C to which DOA users are susceptible.

At the same time the Plan aims at better helping people across the board manage the existence and impact of DOA on their environment and their life.