MORE than four million people in France are taking drugs regularly, health minister Roselyne Bachelot said as she launched a new bid to clear them off the streets.
Telling people to open their eyes to the problem, she said: “In France we are consuming more drugs than before, more often and at a younger age.”
She was concerned and astonished one in two French people thought drug use was not illegal and the new campaign highlights the dangers using a series of TV, radio and internet adverts.
Themed on “If dealers told the truth”, the ads use everyday scenes to show drugs in a new and more dangerous light with, for example, the ecstasy “happy pill” renamed the “heart attack pill”.
The president of the Interdepartmental Mission for the Fight against Drugs and Addiction (MILDT), Etienne Apaire, said 250,000 people took cocaine regularly and a similar number took ecstasy.
There were also 1.2million regular cannabis users, including 550,000 who took it daily.
Although cannabis use is thought to have reduced since 2003, France still has one of the highest usage rates in Europe with 40% of young people saying they had tried it at least once.