France is to introduce on the spot fines for drug users, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced on a visit to Nice on Saturday. The new premier’s visit was prompted by weeks of violence, particularly in the Moulins district, where outbreaks of gun violence have been linked to the drugs trade.

On the morning of the PM’s visit, the body of a 28 year-old man was found in the car park of a block of flats in the same district. Lying in a pool of blood, he had evidently died from knife wounds.

The new fines will come into effect in September, when schools return after the summer break. The 200-euros fixed fine will be reduced to 150 if paid within 15 days. The move has been broadly welcomed by police services.

The prime minister also announced that 60 new police officers will be brought into Nice to combat what he called “everyday violence.” France has the largest per capita use of cannabis in Europe.

FILE PHOTO: French PM Jean Castex addresses Parliament Reuters