By / May 8, 2024

One in Four French Prisoners Smokes Cannabis Daily

A study conducted by the French Observatory of Drugs and Addictions (OFDT) reveals that cannabis is highly prevalent in prison environments, with about one in four French prisoners admitting to smoking it daily.

This national-level study, published in 2023, highlights the significant consumption of various psychoactive substances within penal institutions.

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Substance Use Hierarchy in Prisons: Cannabis, Tobacco, and Alcohol Popular With French Prisoners

The OFDT study identifies a hierarchy of substance use among French prisoners.

Tobacco is the most commonly used substance among French prisoners, closely followed by cannabis and alcohol.

This contrasts with general population trends where tobacco and alcohol typically precede cannabis in terms of prevalence. The results underscore the omnipresence of substance use in prison settings.

Frequency and Prevalence of Cannabis Use Among French Prisoners

According to the survey, nearly half of the French prisoners (49%) reported using cannabis during their incarceration, regardless of the length of their stay. Among these individuals, a significant portion (26%) admitted to daily cannabis use.

The study does more than just highlight the patterns of substance use; it also unveils the methods through which these substances are introduced into prisons.

The authors describe tactics employed by French prisoners, such as aerial throws, drone deliveries, or facilitation by visitors or prison staff—often in exchange for payment.

Addressing Addiction in Prisons: An Urgent Call for Increased Services

Guillaume Airagnes, the director of the OFDT, expresses the urgent need to increase addiction consultations for French prisoners in response to the study’s findings.

The data suggest that prisons are not environments conducive to cessation but may instead perpetuate or exacerbate the use of psychoactive substances among inmates, underscoring the importance of tailored intervention programs aimed at reducing dependency and associated health risks among the incarcerated.

The OFDT study serves as a call to action for policymakers and correctional authorities to reevaluate strategies for managing substance use by French prisoners.

Beyond law enforcement measures, there is an increasing recognition of the need for holistic approaches that prioritize addiction treatment and risk reduction initiatives in penal institutions.

(Featured image by Celeda (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Wikimedia Commons)

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