France Country Drug Report 2019

Quality assurance

The new National Action Plan on Addictions 2018-22 reaffirms the government’s willingness to reinforce quality in public responses on the basis of observation, research, evaluation and training strategy, with a special impetus on prevention. This Action Plan defines quality assurance objectives with regard to the promotion and implementation of evidence-based knowledge, evaluation and skill-raising through training and scientific mediation.

In France, quality assurance in drug demand reduction (prevention, risk reduction, treatment and rehabilitation) builds on specific advocacy, guidelines or training from professional organisations or public health institutions, but it is not institutionally structured or imposed. Professional federations are also engaged in developing quality and professional support; the new portal on addictions for health professionals is one example.

The French Public Health Agency has a scientific and expertise remit in the health field. Developing health promotion, prevention and health education as well as reducing health-related risks are some of its duties. It sustains the dissemination of knowledge on science-based prevention methods or the experimental transfer and adaptation of evidence-based programmes. A growing, although still limited, number of prevention organisations are involved in adopting and implementing international evidence-based programmes. Within the framework of the Interministerial Commission for the Prevention of Addictive Behaviours, the ASPIRE toolkit and a quality assurance tool inspired by the European Drug Prevention Quality Standards, were issued in January 2017.

The specialised drug treatment and prevention centres (CSAPAs) and the low-threshold facilities (CAARUDs) are only marginally affected by the existing accreditation and certification processes for health establishments under the French National Authority for Health (HAS). However, HAS assumes quality control activities related to the functioning of CSAPAs and CAARUDs.

The National Institute for the Training of the National Police provides initial and continuing education for police and gendarmerie drug prevention officers. Over the last 5 years, several initiatives have been developed to increase knowledge and competence on dependencies through medical curricula and continued training for health professionals, prevention or treatment practitioners. Since September 2018, the implementation of the health-promoting service (le service sanitaire) implies the inclusion of a module on how to design and conduct health promotion actions in all health curricula (medicine, nursing, pharmacology, and so on).

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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.