According to one MP, alcohol and narcotics are often used in France’s parliament since lawmakers find it difficult to handle life in the spotlight. The stresses of political life, according to Caroline Janvier, a member of parliament for the Renaissance party of French President Emmanuel Macron, have resulted in an increase in drug and alcohol abuse among certain colleagues. Ms. Janvier stated, “There are evenings where drugs are circulated, just as there are dinners at the end of parliamentary sessions where alcohol is consumed excessively.”

The MP’s personal encounter

The interview with Ms. Janvier follows the arrest of a senator last month on charges of tampering a coworker’s drink in preparation for a potential sexual assault. Charges of “administering to a person without their knowledge a substance likely to diminish their judgment or self-control to commit a rape or sexual assault” led to the arrest of Joël Guerriau, 66. He refutes the accusations. The accuser, 48-year-old moderate Modem party MP Sandrine Josso, said she felt unwell after receiving a drink of champagne at his house. There were traces of ecstasy in her system. 

Ms. Janvier stated in an interview with Paris Match that her goal was not to bring disgrace onto her colleagues but rather to draw attention to the issue of excess among certain politicians who turn to drugs and drink as a coping mechanism for the demands of their career. “I draw the connection between the meaningless night sessions and the pace of life, agenda pressure, and the media, which leaves no room for error,” the speaker remarked. “You either lead a wonderful life or you need medication to get by.” Earlier this year, the national assembly bureau ordered a study on the drinking habits of members of parliament due to the increasingly rowdy, alcohol-fueled parliamentary discussions that frequently turned into a torrent of abuse and angry outbursts.

Substance abuse in political circles

The National Assembly’s headquarters, the Palais Bourbon, contains a ground floor bar where MPs can buy alcohol. The MP-only brasserie-style bar is available during sessions and serves only MPs. A French senator was detained after being questioned about allegations that he had drugged an MP with the intention of abusing her sexually. The 66-year-old centrist senator from western France, Joël Guerriau, was being held, according to authorities, for “administering to a person without their knowledge a substance likely to diminish their judgment or self-control to commit a rape or sexual assault.” A maximum term of five years in jail and a fine of €75,000 (£65,500) are associated with this crime. 

Accountability and transparency

Macron’s green transition minister and secretary-general of Horizon, Christophe Béchu, stated that Mr. Guerriau could “obviously not remain in the party if there is the slightest doubt” that he had given Ms. Josso a medication. He also said that early, party chiefs will gather “where we’ll have the opportunity to discuss this situation.” Mr. Bechu stated that Mr. Guerriau “will have to face the consequences if the least of this is true.” The facts of the situation, according to Mr. Guerriau’s attorney Rémi-Pierre Drai, is “very far from the indecent interpretation that could be deduced from reading the initial press reports.” 

“My client was able to strongly affirm his version of events during the confrontation, which at this point in the investigation does not point to any offense.” After the MP reportedly took a drink with Joël Guerriau and then complained of feeling ill, Guerriau was arrested at his residence. After being brought to the hospital, it is said that tests on her discovered evidence of the drug ecstasy in her system. She subsequently submitted a criminal complaint following the testing.

Towards a culture of responsibility

Macron has led a number of labor legislation, tax, and pension reforms during his presidency and has pushed for the switch to renewable energy sources. The action is a part of Daniel Noboa’s effort, the recently elected president, to reduce the rise in drug trafficking and violence associated with gangs. On Thursday, he declared that the new jails will be identical to one established by his El Salvadorian counterpart, Nayib Bukele, who has spearheaded a contentious anti-gang drive.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Ecuador was once a safe haven between Colombia and Peru, the two biggest cocaine exporters in Latin America. However, in recent years, as rival gangs with ties to Mexican and Colombian cartels have fought for dominance, violence has surged in Ecuador.