Drug use and responses in prison in Latvia 2017

Latvia Country Drug Report 2017

Drug use and responses in prison

Based on the 2014 study conducted in Latvia on the prevalence of drug use in prison, around 69 % of prisoners report having used drugs at some point in their life, while 49 % report having done so in the last year and 40 % in the last month. Prevalence of drug use was found to be higher among female than male prisoners, and the lifetime prevalence of drug use among female prisoners was found to have increased since the 2010 survey. Lifetime prevalence was highest for cannabis, followed by amphetamines, MDMA, heroin and cocaine. Around 4 out of 10 prisoners had used analgesics or sedatives without prescription. Around one quarter of prisoners stated that they had used NPS, especially synthetic cannabinoids, prior to imprisonment. One third of prisoners had used illicit substances while in prison, most commonly cannabis (26 %), followed by analgesics and sedatives (22 %), amphetamines (18 %) and NPS (18 %). Heroin use in prison was reported by 10 %. A small proportion of prisoners, without prior drug use experience, reported initiation of drug use in prison.

In Latvia, around 17 % of prisoners are infected with HCV and 5 % with HBV; the prevalence of HIV/AIDS is approximately 7%.

The provision of healthcare in prison includes activities and measures implemented through mutual cooperation between several ministries, such as the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Health. Healthcare for prisoners is provided by the medical department of the prison or the Latvian Prison Hospital.

Drug treatment interventions in prisons include social rehabilitation, self-help groups and OST. Prevention and treatment of infectious diseases are also available. A number of 11 resocialisation programmes were implemented in various prisons in 2014, including a risk and harm reduction programme and a programme based on the 12-step model. Since 2012, methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) has been available to prisoners who had already started it prior to imprisonment. In 2014, 28 inmates received MMT while in prison.

In 2014, one third of prisoners used illicit substances while in prison

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