Le Monde reports on a survey conducted by the Swedish Council for Information on Alcohol and Other Drugs, which highlights “a rapid increase in the amount of tobacco, alcohol and cannabis consumed by school-going French 16 year-olds between 2007 and 2011”. France has slid down the league table of 36 other European countries studied, many of which have reported positive progress.
For the French daily —
… the European figures will relaunch the debate on French policy in the fight against drug use, which was marked by a focus on repressive measures under the last government.
According to the President of the Addiction Federation, Jean-Pierre Couteron, quoted by Le Monde, the trouble with repressive policies —
… is that they overlook the much larger problem of the addictogenic environment for teenagers in a society oriented towards strong sensation and hyperconsumption.
At the same time, the French Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (OFDT) points out that —
… the main goal of doing everything to reduce the number of people who experiment with cannabis for the first time ignores the fact that trying the drug is a sign of identification for young people.
Le Monde concludes by citing yet another weakness of this policy, which is widely criticised by specialists —
… the focus on cannabis which neglects the role played by tobacco in initiating the use of this substance, and the fact that young people are polyconsumers.