France Country Drug Report 2019

Drug-related research

In France, the Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research (MENESR) designs, coordinates and implements national policy on research and innovation, covering areas including neuroscience, public health and clinical research applied to social sciences through academic organisations such as the National Centre for Scientific Research and the National Institute of Health and Medical Research. The Interministerial Mission for Combating Drugs and Addictive Behaviours (MILDECA) is the central structure, reporting to the prime minister, for coordinating governmental action in the drugs field, as well as for promoting and funding drug-related research. The national priorities for research in the field of addiction are defined in the MILDECA governmental plan. The new National Action Plan on Addictions 2018-22 defines five priority lines of research: (i) drug use; (ii) prevention; (iii) harm reduction measures and treatment; (iv) penal measures; and (v) supply reduction.

The French national focal point, the Observatoire français des drogues et des toxicomanies (OFDT), is the main body involved in drug-related data collection, studies and network development. It collaborates extensively with national and European drug-related research teams. Its mandate also includes the dissemination of data and research results, together with publishing results in national and international scientific journals and promoting the use of research findings in practice and policymaking.

Additionally, non-governmental organisations and foundations representing practitioners and users also regularly fund surveys and research projects in this area. Alternatively, funding may be provided by companies (alcohol suppliers, the tobacco industry and pharmaceutical laboratories), although this implies a need for greater transparency. Currently, research on drugs and addictive behaviours is also among the strategic priorities of national thematic research alliances.

A large number of research studies have been published recently, particularly studies in the field of basic research, population-based epidemiological studies, studies on demand reduction and studies on drug markets. Between 2010 and 2016, the number of French scientific publications on drug-related research increased by 30 % and public expenditure on research into addictive behaviours increased from EUR 13.5 million to EUR 17 million.

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Methodological note: Analysis of trends is based only on those countries providing sufficient data to describe changes over the period specified. The reader should also be aware that monitoring patterns and trends in a hidden and stigmatised behaviour like drug use is both practically and methodologically challenging. For this reason, multiple sources of data are used for the purposes of analysis in this report. Caution is therefore required in interpretation, in particular when countries are compared on any single measure. Detailed information on methodology and caveats and comments on the limitations in the information set available can be found in the EMCDDA Statistical Bulletin.