Drug-related interventions in European prisons

Provision, available evidence and gaps
In programme
Thursday, 24 October, 2019 - 10:50 to 12:20
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What is the evidence on drug interventions in prison? What are the actual interventions implemented? What should be done to address current and future challenges in the prison and drugs field?

Scientific literature covering prison health in general and drug-related health interventions in prison in particular is generally quite limited. Lack of research activities in prison settings may be the results of several factors, including structural barriers and challenges for conducting research in this setting. Available data confirm that the prison population has a complex health and social profile and is often composed of individuals who belong to one or multiple vulnerable groups, with higher prevalence of drug related problems and more severe health needs, when compared to people in the community. European countries have responded to the needs of people with drug related problems who are in prison by offering drug counselling and treatment and measures to prevent and control the transmission of infections; the level of implementation of interventions has recently expanded in several European countries, although it remains below the level provided in the community. Despite positive developments with regards to drug-related interventions and a growing interest among European researchers and people working in prisons in prison health, when assessing the body of evidence, important limitations are apparent. Furthermore, programmatic data, representing a rich source of information in other contexts, are scarcely available for prison settings.

Aim: The session aims to present available evidence and data on the provision of drug-related health interventions for people with drug related problems in prisons in the EU and Norway, and to stimulate further research in the epidemiology of drugs and prison, in effectiveness of interventions, and policy development in this field.