Opiate substitution treatment to reduce in-prison drug injection: A natural experiment
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Background There is emerging evidence that opiate substitution treatment (OST) in prison is associated with reduced injecting drug use (IDU). In Australia OST is available in prison for men and women in all jurisdictions except Queensland, where it is available only for women. The aim of this study was to examine the association between in-prison OST and in-prison IDU in New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland. Methods Cross-sectional survey of Australian prisoners in NSW (N = 1128) and Queensland (N = 1325). Lifetime IDU and in-prison IDU measured by self-report. Results Lifetime history of IDU was significantly more common among females than males in both jurisdictions. Among those with a lifetime history of IDU, the lifetime prevalence of in-prison IDU was significantly higher for males than females in both jurisdictions, however the magnitude of this sex difference was considerably greater in Queensland than in NSW. Conclusion Provision of OST in prison is associated with a reduced lifetime prevalence of in-prison drug injection, among those with a lifetime history of IDU. Irrespective of OST policies, women with a history of IDU are less likely than their male counterparts to inject in prison; reasons for this novel and replicable sex difference require further examination.
International Journal of Drug Policy
Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified