Home > Drug use among prisoners: an exploratory study.

Dillon, Lucy (2001) Drug use among prisoners: an exploratory study. Dublin: Health Research Board.

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The aims of this exploratory study were to explore the nature of drug use among prisoners; the impact of incarceration on drug use; perceptions of services within the prison setting; and to examine the experiences of non-drug-users within a prison setting. Qualitative methodology was used to collect the data. In-depth interviews were carried out with 29 prisoners in Mountjoy Prison, Dublin. The sample profile describes socio-demographic background; drug-using status; drug-using history; criminal history; and drug-crime relationship conditions of prisoners.

Other than in designated drug free wings, respondents percieved Mountjoy to be characterised by a drug culture and that the overall atmosphere of the prison was affected by drug use. Respondents with a history of drug use identified perceived benefits of drug use as a means of alleviating problems such as boredom and depression. Heroin and cannabis were reported to be the drugs most commonly used within the prison setting. Location within the prison were important factors in both the visibility of drug use and the degree of success in attempting to remain free of drugs. To stay, or become drug free in an environment characterised by a drugs culture was not perceived as feasible for those with a history of drug use. However, the frequency and quantity of use is greatly reduced in prison. The opportunity for drug users to reduce risk behaviour is seriously reduced while in prison.

Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Report
Drug Type
Substances (not alcohol/tobacco)
Intervention Type
Crime prevention
Call No
MO4, AA2, VH4.2
xiv, 1
Health Research Board
Place of Publication
includes bibliograhic references
Accession Number
HRB 776 (Available), HRB 1301 (Available), HRB 1783 (Available)
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