Czechia Country Drug Report 2019

Drug use and responses in prison

In Czechia, the Prison Service administers 35 prisons, and the health department of the Prison Service coordinates health-related interventions in prison, with drug-related health being one of the priorities in the general strategic document on the development of the Prison Service.

A cross-sectional survey on drug use among prison inmates in the country has been conducted biennially since 2010. The 2018 survey indicated that almost half of the inmates had used an illicit drug in the 12 months prior to imprisonment, with methamphetamine (pervitin) reported as the most commonly used drug (30 %), followed by cannabis (28 %) and MDMA/ecstasy (12 %). One in five respondents reported regular use of heroin, buprenorphine or pervitin in the 30 days prior to imprisonment. Twenty-one per cent of the respondents had used an illegal psychoactive substance during one of their previous prison sentences, with alcohol made in prison being the most commonly reported substance (16 %), followed by sedatives or painkillers without medical prescription (13 %) and cannabis (12 %). Almost one third of prisoners had injected drugs during their lifetime, with 7 % reporting having injected drugs in prison and 5 % reporting having shared injecting equipment in prison.

Prevention and drug treatment interventions are carried out in prisons through drug prevention counselling centres, drug-free zones and specialised prison wings. Increasingly, non-governmental organisations provide programmes in prisons.

Ten prisons are authorised to provide opioid substitution treatment (OST), of which six reported treating patients with OST in 2017. OST is provided to inmates who have received it prior to imprisonment, and initiation of OST while in prison is done only in exceptional circumstances. Detoxification is available in a small number of prisons. Addiction treatment in specialised wings is provided in 13 prisons, on a voluntary basis and also as part of court-ordered compulsory treatment.

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Methodological note: Analysis of trends is based only on those countries providing sufficient data to describe changes over the period specified. The reader should also be aware that monitoring patterns and trends in a hidden and stigmatised behaviour like drug use is both practically and methodologically challenging. For this reason, multiple sources of data are used for the purposes of analysis in this report. Caution is therefore required in interpretation, in particular when countries are compared on any single measure. Detailed information on methodology and caveats and comments on the limitations in the information set available can be found in the EMCDDA Statistical Bulletin.