Statistical Bulletin 2017 — drug use in prison

National routine information on drug use and patterns of use amongst prisoners is rare. Most of the data available in the EU come from ad-hoc studies amongst prisoners, carried out at local level, with samples that vary considerably in size and which are often not representative of the whole prison system. This makes extrapolation to a national figure for the prison system very difficult. Furthermore, the lack of repeated surveys impedes trend analysis in most of the EU countries.

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Methods and definitions used

The scarcity of existing data on drugs and prison and the lack of comparability between European countries has prompted the EMCDDA to launch a process of revision of the current monitoring tools at European level. The final aim is to obtain harmonized and comparable information in the area of drugs and prison.

A first methodological framework for monitoring on drug and prison in Europe was agreed among a group of European prison experts and it was discussed during a meeting of the Horizontal Drug Group of the Council of the European Union in February 2013. This will be followed in the next period by the definition and discussion of common tools for data collection and reporting at European level. For further information see the topics page on prison.