Austria Country Drug Report 2017

Drug use and responses in prison

In Austria, the federal government oversees matters of imprisonment and detention, and a separate department of the Federal Ministry of Justice oversees the prison system.

General healthcare in prisons is a subject to the principles of equivalence of care and the funding for it comes from public budgets, through the Federal Ministry of Justice. Healthcare for prisoners is provided through health and treatment services, which are often delivered in cooperation with external organisations. Written strategies for drug-related health policies in prisons do not exist, but service providers apply general guidelines drafted for health-related services in prison or adopted from other areas.

The most recent data from 2011 indicate that drug use and related problems among prisoners are common among inmates, some of whom regularly use illicit drugs, including by injecting.

A variety of treatment services are available in prisons, including OST, detoxification, assistance with abstinenceoriented goals, if desired, as well as the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of HIV, hepatitis C and other infectious diseases. OST can be either initiated or continued during imprisonment, but only a small proportion of prisoners receive treatment, although this varies by prison. When entering a prison, inmates receive care packages that include condoms and leaflets on HIV, AIDS and hepatitis, although a recent European survey on prevention of infectious diseases in prison (PRIDE) shows that this practice is implemented only in approximately half of Austrian prisons. A few prisons have special drug-free zones. Pre-release support programmes are also available to prisoners.

A variety of treatment services, including opioid substitution treatment, is available in prisons in Austria

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