“We, elected officials from large cities and metropolises, call for a real national and European plan against drug trafficking”

In August, the Pissevin district, on the outskirts of Nîmes, was the scene of two shootings, resulting in the death of a 10-year-old child and an 18-year-old man. Other large urban centers have also just experienced dramatic violence linked to trafficking. At the national level, more than seventy victims linked to drug trafficking have already been recorded by the Ministry of the Interior since the start of 2023.

As the consumption and trade of illicit substances and their synthetic products increase, local elected officials are subject to market developments and face numerous challenges. There is not a month during which the news is not punctuated by news items against a backdrop of drug trafficking. This scourge is no longer specific to certain large cities.

Overseas territories become platforms for transporting illicit goods. Medium-sized towns and small towns also become the scene of trafficking and nuisance, even of score-settling. Although trafficking already existed, its form and the degree of violence observed are new, particularly among minors.

Professionalization of crime

Big banditry, corruption and organized crime are now commonplace. The circulation and use of heavy weapons, territorial wars or money laundering demonstrate a real professionalization of crime. Traffickers come to set up shop and package their goods in towns known to be calm.

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It is easier to set up where there is no delinquency, no competition, fewer police forces and fewer surveillance systems. Traffickers rely on the use of social networks as well as organizations of small mobile dealers, with significant remuneration and possible turnover.

The government’s announcements and the increase in budgets allocated to internal security and justice are going in the right direction. However, despite regular seizures, the supply of drugs in Europe has never been as significant as today. We are no longer just talking about cannabis: cocaine and heroin are imported en masse. It’s a real system that serves a real economy.

Complex and meticulous work

The National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (Insee) estimates the amount spent by the French in 2020 to stock up on cannabis, cocaine, heroin, crack and other narcotics at 4.2 billion euros, i.e. two times more than in 2009. More than three thousand deal points have been identified, particularly in urban areas. For many months, we have been warning about the slowness of investigations, the lack of resources and the seriousness of the situation. Our fellow citizens, who are the victims, are asking questions and calling on us.

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