French turn to tranquilisers in wake of Paris terror attacks

Health firms claim to have seen an almost 20 per cent rise in requests for drugs

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The Independent Online

In the wake of the Paris terror attacks French people are apparently turning to tranquilisers in record numbers.

Researchers claimed that sales of anti-anxiety drugs and sleeping pills rose almost 20 per cent between Friday and Tuesday, according to The Times.

French health data consultancy firm Celtipharm contacted 4,800 chemists and noticed there had been an 18.2 per cent rise: they claimed there was no precedent anywhere in the world.

“This type of phenomenon has never been observed before,” the firm’s chief executive Patrick Guerin told The Times.

Roughly one in six French people take tranquilisers occasionally, and apparently many rushed to their local chemists for an extra box following events in Paris last week.

The massacre of eight journalists at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, along with two policemen, a caretaker and a visitor to the company sparked a chain of events that shocked France and transfixed the world last week.


The two gunmen were killed during a seven-hour standoff with French security police, as another extremist – speculated to have been linked to the first two – murdered four hostages in a Jewish grocery store before also being killed by officers.

The attacks brought millions of ordinary citizens – and world leaders – onto the streets on Sunday to protest the perceived attack on freedom of speech.

Retailers are also feeling the aftereffects of the attacks: around Paris there were 10 per cent fewer shoppers in the days following events compared to the previous year.

Individuals who did shop spent less, compared to the same period in 2014 nationwide takings were down 8.3 per cent.