3. Estimates of people who injected drugs within the past 12 months in France
Determining the number of injecting drug users (IDU) in a population remains a public health challenge that goes beyond simple epidemiological observation: it constitutes an initial step in the process of estimating the economic burden of related diseases (HBV and HCV, HIV), forecasting potential need for treatment, as well as being a key element in establishing and guiding prevention policies. Prevalence of IDU is also needed to help measure the dynamics of drug markets and provide a realistic basis upon which to measure the social cost of drug problems.
Single source capture-recapture study using individual data collected by a standardized survey conducted within treatment centres. Taking the hierarchical structure of data collection into consideration, the estimates stem from a multilevel regression model.
In 2020, last 12 months IDU were thought to be 107800 (95% credible interval: 103400-110300) in mainland France, i.e. a prevalence of 2.7 (2.6-2.8) per 1000 people aged 15-64, a stable figure as compared to 2014. Estimates have been broken down by gender, revealing a 3 to 1 ratio of maleto-female; and age, showing young adults less prone to regular use of injection.
Nowadays IDU include heroin, buprenorphine, polydrug and stimulant users. This greater diversity ought to be taken into account by prevention policies, and underlines the need for perennial monitoring of IDU.