Based on the most recent United Nations (UN) statistics, approximately 9 percent of the adult population uses marijuana, which is the most commonly used illegal drug in France. In addition, approximately 0.5 percent use heroin annually. Cocaine use has been increasing in France since the mid-1990s, and the government estimates that over 0.6 percent of the population between the ages of 15 and 64 now use cocaine.

France is a late convert to the European emphasis on harm reduction. Before 1995 French drug use policy came under the penal code established on December 31, 1970. While other European nations had shifted to harm reduction in the mid to late 1980s in hope of dealing with the medical and social problems drug abuse caused, France remained committed ...

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