Interview

France: supervising, not banning, alcohol consumption

Alcohol consumption is permitted in civilian society, but not in prison. This leads to brutal withdrawal symptoms for inmates who are dependent on alcohol.

Alcoholic drinks are banned in prison. As part of the sanitary measures introduced to combat the spread of the coronavirus, hand sanitizer is also banned due to its alcohol content. The collective Modus Bibendi, which works to reduce the risks linked to alcohol, is calling on the Ministries of Health and Justice to reconsider this approach.

Matthieu Fieulaine is the coordinator of the collective. He has been working on harm reduction1 for 12 years in France and specializes in alcohology. Prison Insider asked him three questions.


  1. The aim of this is to reduce risk and minimize the harm that alcohol can cause for individuals who cannot or do not want to abstain. 

Treatment is not possible if the prison administration refuses to recognize addiction and patterns of consumption.

Why is alcohol banned but not tobacco?

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