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Sciensano's project investigator(s):
This project increases the knowledge about (mental) health subjects among persons in detention to create an effective and efficient drug-related prison policy. Persons in prison in particular but also the society at large should benefit from the results of this project. We aim to improve health, care and the detention conditions within prison.
The action is beneficial at a local, national and European level. The inmates and ex-inmates needs are assessed in five European countries in order to design the appropriate interventions based on their specific needs. The collection of data will provide an image of the situation in the European prisons and will allow each country to design and implement interventions.
The general objectives are to:
- assess the current situation & needs of (ex-)prisoners in relation to drugs and alcohol use
- make an inventory of interventions for prisoners
- develop a manual with recommendations on existing programs and best practices for (ex-)prisoners
In light of the large overlap that exists between prison and drug use, prison settings are an important source of data for understanding the characteristics and estimating the size of populations of problem drug users. This type of research offers an opportunity to reach problem drug users who might never, or only much later, have contact with drug treatment services. In some cases, imprisonment can force some drug users to stop using drugs, and improve their quality of live. However, prison can also be a setting for initiation into drug use or for switching from one drug to another, often due to lack of availability of the preferred drug inside prison. Studies also suggest that incarceration has an additional negative impact on these already vulnerable populations. Imprisonment is, for example, associated with higher rates of heroin or cocaine use, both in prison and outside prison, increased benzodiazepine use in injecting drug users and earlier relapse after inpatient treatment.
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