Legal Framework for Harm Reduction Activities in France
"The harm reduction policy for drug users is the responsibility of the government (article L3121-3 of the French Public Health Code modified by the law of 13 August 2004 - art. 71 35). This harm reduction policy seeks to prevent the spread of infection, death by intravenous drug overdose and the social and psychological damage caused by narcotics use. The law of 9 August 2004 36, which established CAARUDs [Support Centre for the Reduction of Drug-related Harms], states that, along with other schemes, CAARUDs should be used to contribute to the harm reduction policy (article L3121-5 of the Public Health Code). CAARUDs are open to both individuals and groups, provide personalised advice and information to drug users, offer support to help drug users obtain access to treatment (which includes assistance with hygiene and access to basic emergency care), make referrals to specialised or general treatment systems, encourage screening for transmissible infections, help users gain access to entitlements, housing and professional integration or rehabilitation, provide equipment to prevent infection, and intervene locally outside the centre to establish contact with users. CAARUDs37 provide social mediation to ensure good integration in their neighbourhood and prevent the public disturbances related to drug use. Their coordination with other organisations has been stipulated in a circular.38"
l'Observatoire francais des drogues et des toxicomanies (OFDT), "2012 National Report (2011 data) to the EMCDDA by the Reitox National Focal Point: France: New Development, Trends and in-depth information on selected issues (Saint-Denis, France: OFDT, 2012), pp. 17-18.