PARIS – The consumption of cocaine is becoming more and more widespread in France, despite a record seizure in 2017 of 17.5 tons, said Thursday the French Observatory of Drugs and Drug Addiction (OFDT).
"The product, whose production worldwide is historically high, appears since 2016 increasingly available in metropolitan France," said a note from the OFDT, highlighting a dissemination "very important" cocaine.
"While the seizures made by the customs, police and gendarmerie reached a level unmatched in 2017 (17.5 tons), the price of cocaine powder drops for the first time since the beginning of 2010 and is set at 80 euros per gram, "says the note, noting that the purity rate is" very high. "
According to the OFDT, which conducted studies in eight major cities, including Paris, Lyon and Marseille), cocaine is experiencing "exceptional accessibility", noting that only 1.6% of 18-64 year olds are used in 2017 against 1.1% in 2014.
The Office points out, in this sense, the extension of the practice of "basing" cocaine, with the aim of obtaining a form of the smokable product, which further extends the uses, stating that these uses remain "particularly visible" in Paris and Seine-Saint-Denis where the crack market (cocaine sold already based) "no longer affects exclusively precarious consumers."
A kilo of cocaine sells for about $ 1,000 (about 860 euros) in Colombia, while in France it is sold at about 30,000 euros, which generates considerable profits.
In addition, the kilo of pure cocaine is cut with other products such as lidocaine or caffeine, to allow to have a weight three times higher that can bring traffickers up to 90,000 euros.
The OFDT note also refers to the diffusion of substances traditionally consumed in specific festive contexts (GHB / GBL, ketamine, poppers and nitrous oxide).
"Given the circulation of user populations between different types of festive events and the commercial dynamism of manufacturers, dealers or dealers, these products are now present in more general areas where they can be experienced by new populations, "it was explained, indicating that these populations, often uninformed about harm reduction and harm reduction practices, are more vulnerable to health.
In this context, the board notes the "renewed popularity of nitrous oxide" or laughing gas. This type of drug, extracted from industrial cylinders, is packaged in balls sold 1 to 2 euros per unit, indicating that nitrous oxide is "very available on alternative festive scenes" since 2015, but also "in d other festive contexts: in festivals in Ile-de-France or student parties ".