Cannabis is a very widespread illicit drug. The fight against trafficking is growing. In ten years, cocaine use has been expanded and democratized, while heroin, almost disappeared in the 1990s, is now slowly returning. These two observations emerge from the report "Recent trends and new drugs", published this week by OFDT. They are based on the observation of regular consumers.
Formerly reserved for elite, cocaine is spreading in ever wider spheres of society. More than a million French have experienced it. Perceived as a party drug and slightly dangerous, its image is extremely positive. "The public who consume it are now very diverse, festive environment of the middle class," said Jean-Michel Costes, head of the OFDT.
Contrary to popular belief, its use is higher among the unemployed. This drug is very available. It is present in some music bars and nightclubs, including Lille, Paris, Rennes and Toulouse.
5 Euros per gram of cannabis
Cocaine appears to have a promising future. "The appeal of this product does not appear to contradict itself, despite the problematic consequences, financial and especially psychiatric, reported by professionals," said Trend report. The number of overdoses is rising again since 2003. These accidents could be explained by ignorance of the dangers of this drug.
The Trend report devotes a chapter to further products and trafficking. Today a gram of cannabis resin costs € 5 and it is the cheapest drug on the market - its price has not declined in recent years. It is also the most consumed illicit product in France. Cocaine, however, remains the most expensive drug (on average € 60 per gram), while a gram of heroin and ecstasy is € 40 to € 7.
The fight against trafficking and drug use has intensified in recent years, with a record 176,000 arrests in 2008. The number of arrests for traffic increased till 67% in two years.
Many sites now offer a range of psychoactive substances to the attention of young people seeking new experiments: plants and mushrooms, synthetic drugs, herbal blends. These products are usually labeled "legal", but their effects and toxicity are not familiar to buyers.