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Drug users in prison (DUP)

This section reports on various studies of prison inmates in different EU Member States and Norway over the past decade. Results shown in the studies cover a range of drugs including opiates, cocaine, cannabis and polydrug use, and prevalence is estimated for a range of inmate sub-populations: injectors, males, females, youth. A further, more complete table is available in the supplementary table to the bulletin, indexed below.

Table DUP-105. Prevalence (percentage) of drug use among prisoners in EU Member States and Norway — full listing of studies.

The first table of the section, Table DUP-0 gives the source bibliographic references for the studies reported in Tables DUP-1 to DUP-4 and Figures DUP-1 to DUP-2.

Summary points

Compared to the general community, drug use continues to be much more widespread in European prison populations. Data available from several studies carried out from 2003 onwards, mostly in western European countries, show that a small share, between a third and half of those surveyed reported drug use or regular drug use of any illicit drug in the month prior to imprisonment (one and three percentage respectively) (see Table DUP-105), The most damaging forms of drug use may also be concentrated among prisoners, between a fifth six and thirty-eight percentage a third of those surveyed reported to have ever injected drugs (see Table DUP-2 and Figure DUP-2).

Studies carried out between 2003 and 2008 in Europe show that 1–56 % of inmates report having used drugs while incarcerated, and that up to 12 % report regular use inside prison (see Table DUP-3). Those injecting within prison represent 1–31 % of inmates (see Table DUP-4).

About the EMCDDA

The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) is the reference point on drugs and drug addiction information in Europe. Inaugurated in Lisbon in 1995, it is one of the EU's decentralised agencies. Read more >>

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Page last updated: Friday, 20 May 2011