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Table DUP-1. Prevalence of lifetime drug use among prisoners, 2000–2010

CountryYearSource/ reference (1)Definition and methodological comments (2)Drug used
(and if any: restriction on base population)Note%
Belgium20101Persons reporting lifetime drug use (prior/within prison). Comment: cross-sectional national survey in all the 32 Belgian prisons in a representative sample of 10% of prisoners in each prison, including remanded, sentenced and mentally disordered prisoners, both males and females (n= 1251)any illicit drug61
cannabis54
cocaine, crack41
heroin29
amphetamines33
ecstasy32
20082Persons reporting lifetime drug use. Comment: cross-sectional national survey in all the 32 Belgian prisons in a representative sample of 10% of prisoners in each prison, including remanded, sentenced and mentally disordered prisoners, both males and females (n= 1078)any illicit drug65
cannabis58
cocaine, crack43
heroin28
amphetamines29
ecstasy29
20063Persons reporting lifetime drug use. Comment: national survey in all the 32 Belgian prisons in a representative sample of 10% of adult prisoners, including remanded, sentenced and mentally disordered prisoners, both males and females (n= 902).any illicit drug60
cannabis52
cocaine, crack39
heroin27
amphetamines27
ecstasy28
LSD, magic mushrooms20
20034Persons reporting having used illicit drugs (prior/within prison). Comment: survey in a random sample of 10 prisons (over a total of 38) among on remand, convicted and social defence (psychiatric cases) prisoners (n= 886).any illicit drug51
cannabis47
cocaine36
heroin26
amphetamines33
ecstasy31
Bulgaria20101Persons reporting lifetime drug use (prior/within prison). Comment: cross-sectional national survey in all prisons among all convicted men and females, all ages during March 2011 (n= 3703) (Repeated survey, previous one in 2006, next planned every two years)Any illicit drug37
cannabis28
cocaine18
heroin24
amphetamines20
ecstasy15
20092Persons reporting at admission to the prison lifetime drug use prior to imprisonment Comment: national survey in 17 remand prisons among all convicted, defendant adults and detained persons in prison and remand arrest during the year (n= 5776)Any illicit drug17
cannabis6
cocaine3
heroin9
amphetamines5
ecstasy3
20083Persons reporting at admission to the prison lifetime drug use prior to imprisonment Comment: national survey in 17 remand prisons among all convicted, defendant adults and detained persons in prison and remand arrest during the year (n= 9983)Any illicit drug15
cannabis3
cocaine0.8
heroin8
amphetamines3
ecstasy1
20074Persons registered (in the judicial and medical files) as lifetime drug users prior to imprisonment (self-report) Comment: national survey in 17 remand prisons among all new cases accused, defendant adults and detained persons in prison and remand arrest during the year (n= 7780)any illicit drug10
20065Persons registered (in the judicial and medical files) as lifetime drug users prior to imprisonment (self-report) Comment: national survey in 17 remand prisons among all accused, defendant adults and detained persons (n= 11400)any illicit drug18
cannabis3
cocaine2
heroin10
amphetamines3
ecstasy2
20065Persons registered (in the judicial and medical files) as lifetime drug users prior to imprisonment (self-report). Comment: national survey in 6 prisons among prisoners (n= 3733) Any illicit drug11
20065Persons registered (in the judicial and medical files) as lifetime drug users prior to imprisonment (self-report). Comment: national survey in 17 prisons among prisoners (n= 7274) cannabis7
cocaine1
heroin9
amphetamines2
ecstasy2
20066Persons registered (in the judicial and medical files) as lifetime drug users prior to imprisonment (self-report). Comment: national survey in 17 prisons among on remand detainees (n= 3567) Any illicit drug8
cannabis1
cocaine0.3
heroin5
amphetamines0.3
ecstasy0.8
20067Persons reporting lifetime drug use prior/within prison. Comment: national survey in 10 prisons among sentenced detainees (n= 1257) Any illicit drug37
cannabis31
cocaine23
heroin23
amphetamines19
ecstasy18
20048Persons registered (in the judicial file) as lifetime drug users prior to imprisonment. Comment: national survey based on cases for which drug use prior to imprisonment was mentioned during the collection of data for the judicial file, among all convicted detainees (n= 11521).any illicit drug15
cannabis4
cocaine3
heroin4
amphetamines2
ecstasy2
20049Persons in contact with health services, psychologists and social workers reporting lifetime drug use prior to imprisonment. Comment: national survey in all prisons in Bulgaria (n= 11521).any illicit drug(4)7
cannabis(4)1
cocaine(4)0.8
heroin(4)3
amphetamines(4)0.5
Czech Republic20101Persons reporting lifetime drug use prior to current imprisonment Comment: First cross-sectional national survey in 35 out of 36 Czech prisons among a random sample of prison inmates (out of 19570 prisoners were randomly selected 2000 respondents of whom 1668 did really answer). Field has been conducted during 13 days in all Czech prisons. (N=1668) (Planned every two years)any illicit drug49
cannabis37
cocaine13
heroin13
amphetamines35
ecstasy18
20101Persons reporting lifetime drug use (prior/within prison) Comment: First cross-sectional national survey in 35 out of 36 Czech prisons among a random sample of prison inmates (out of 19570 prisoners were randomly selected 2000 respondents of whom 1668 did really answer). Field has been conducted during 13 days in all Czech prisons. (N=1668) (Planned every two years)any illicit drug54
cannabis43
cocaine17
heroin15
amphetamines39
ecstasy23
Greece20001Persons reporting lifetime drug use prior to imprisonment. Comments: survey in 1 prison amongst on remand and convicted prisoners (n= 136)any illicit drug48
Spain20061Persons reporting lifetime drug use prior to imprisonment Comments: nationwide survey in 66 prisons in a random sample of prisoners (n= 4934) (women overrepresented)cannabis65
cocaine53
crack39
heroin39
heroin + cocaine in the same dose31
amphetamines25
ecstasy24
Italy200312persons reporting lifetime drug use prior to imprisonment (based on self-report). Comment:survey among new admissions in 9 prisons of 8 cities spread across national territory (n= 1267)any illicit drug56
cannabis33
cocaine42
heroin34
amphetamines5
ecstasy7
hallucinogens6
Latvia20101Persons reporting lifetime drug use prior to imprisonment. Comment: Repeated cross-sectional national survey in 11 (out of 15) prisons, convicted persons (n= 1965)any illicit drug66
cannabis61
cocaine19
heroin25
amphetamines41
ecstasy28
20101Persons reporting lifetime drug use (both prior to and in prison). Comment: Repeated cross-sectional national survey in 11 (out of 15) prisons, convicted persons (n= 1965)any illicit drug68
cannabis63
cocaine21
heroin27
amphetamines45
ecstasy31
20032Persons reporting lifetime drug use prior to imprisonment. Comment: national survey in 11 (out of 15) prisons with at least 100 convicted Persons (n= 2867).any illicit drug53
cannabis51
cocaine15
heroin21
amphetamines22
ecstasy17
Lithiania20032Persons reporting lifetime use of a narcotic drug. Comment: survey in all penal institutions among those who returned the questionnaire including men (1122), women (67) and minor boys (115) (n= 1304).any illicit drug49
Hungary20091Persons reporting lifetime drug use prior to imprisonment. Comment: cross-sectional survey in 1 prison in Budapest amongst a simple random sample of adult convicted males; population 1 400 (n= 194)any illicit drug58
cannabis46
cocaine22
heroin18
amphetamines45
ecstasy40
20082Persons reporting lifetime drug use prior to imprisonment. Comment: national cross-sectional survey in 22 prisons amongst a proportional random sample of adult both males and females convicted prisoners of Hungarian citizenship (n= 503)any illicit drug44
cannabis38
cocaine19
heroin8
amphetamines22
ecstasy23
20043Persons reporting lifetime drug use prior to imprisonment. Comment: national survey in 11 prisons amongst a proportional random sample of adult male convicted prisoners of Hungarian citizenship (n= 609)any illicit drug (adult males)31.5
cannabis (adult males)26
cocaine (adult males)11
heroin (adult males)7
amphetamines (adult males)16
ecstasy (adult males)16
20043Persons reporting lifetime drug use (both prior to and in prison). Comment: national survey in 11 prisons amongst a proportional random sample of adult male convicted prisoners of Hungarian citizenship (n= 609)any illicit drug (adult males)34
cannabis (adult males)27
cocaine (adult males)11
heroin (adult males)8
amphetamines (adult males)16
ecstasy (adult males)17
The Netherlands20031Men reporting lifetime drug use prior to imprisonment. Comment: survey in 8 prisons among male detainees (n= 355).any illicit drug (males)79
2002-032Youth reporting lifetime drug use prior to imprisonment. Comment: survey in 8 youth detention centres in 3 regions among a representative sample (n= 205) (random sample of 135 boys and over-sample of 70 girls) of 14-17 year-olds on remand and convicted.cannabis (youth)78
cocaine (youth)11
heroin/opiates (youth)4
amphetamines (youth)8
ecstasy (youth)18
hallucinogenic mushrooms (youth)13
crack (youth)2
LSD (youth)3
Poland20071Adult men reporting lifetime drug use prior to imprisonment. Comment: nationwide survey (41 prisons) in a random sample of on remand and convicted prisoners (n= 1240).any illicit drug (adult males)49
cannabis (adult males)43
cocaine (adult males)21
heroin (adult males)8
amphetamines (adult males)39
ecstasy (adult males)29
20012Adult men reporting lifetime drug use prior to imprisonment. Comment: nationwide survey (38 prisons) in a random sample of on remand and convicted prisoners (n= 1189).cannabis (adult males)39
cocaine (adult males)19
heroin (adult males)10
amphetamines (adult males)36
ecstasy (adult males)20
Portugal20071Persons reporting lifetime drug use prior to imprisonment. Comment: nationwide survey (44 prisons) in a random sample of on remand and convicted prisoners (n= 1986).any illicit drug55
cannabis48
cocaine35
heroin30
amphetamines15
ecstasy18
20071Persons reporting lifetime drug use (both prior to and in prison). Comment: nationwide survey (44 prisons) in a random sample of on remand and convicted prisoners (n= 1986).any illicit drug59
cannabis55
cocaine40
heroin34
amphetamines16
ecstasy20
20012Persons reporting lifetime drug use prior to imprisonment. Comment: nationwide survey (47 prisons) in a random sample of on remand and convicted prisoners (n= 2057).any illicit drug61
cannabis54
cocaine44
heroin44
amphetamines18
ecstasy16
Slovenia20081Persons classified as lifetime drug users Comment: routine monitoring in all prisons and correctional centre amongst on remand, convicted detention prisoners (juvenile included) (n= 4383) admitted into prison during the year. Expert estimationsany illicit drug28
Romania20061Persons reporting lifetime drug use prior to imprisonment Comment: survey in 27 prisons among prisoners (n=3218)any illicit drug16
cannabis15
cocaine6
heroin8
amphetamines1
ecstasy4
LSD1
Finland20012Persons reporting having used illicit drugs. Comment: national survey among a sample of voluntary HIV tested convicted prisoners (n= 825).any illicit drug58
opiates5
amphetamines29
United Kingdom (England and Wales)2005-063Persons reporting lifetime drug use. Comment: survey in 49 prisons holding newly sentenced receptions among all adults sentenced between 1 month and 4 years (n= 1457).any of heroin, crack, cocaine, amphetamines, cannabis79
cannabis70
cocaine43
crack41
heroin37
amphetamines37
Croatia20101persons reporting lifetime drug use prior to imprisonment Comment: survey among attendees to the depapartment for diagnostics and programming (all admissions at entry), who had been convicted and still have more than six months of servitude, regardless on his/hers gender and age (n= 2181)cannabis12
cocaine7
heroin6
amphetamines7
ecstasy6
20092persons reporting lifetime drug use prior to imprisonment Comment: survey among attendees to the depapartment for diagnostics and programming, who had been convicted and still have more than six months of servitude, regardless on his/hers gender and age (n= 1916)any illicit drug26
cannabis19
cocaine12
heroin12
amphetamines10
ecstasy10
20083persons reporting lifetime drug use prior to imprisonment Comment: survey among attendees to the depapartment for diagnostics and programming, who had been convicted and still have more than six months of servitude, regardless on his/hers gender and age (n= 1791)any illicit drug24
cannabis22
cocaine13
heroin13
amphetamines11
ecstasy11
Norway20022Persons reporting lifetime drug use prior to imprisonment. Comment: national survey in all 52 prisons among on remand and convicted prisoners (n= 1074).any illicit drug 70
cannabis65
cocaine51
heroin37
amphetamines59
ecstasy45
 

Notes:

n.a.: not available.

(2) Caution should be applied when considering that a survey is said to be 'national', as this refers to its intended geographical coverage, but does not mean it is necessarily representative of the national situation, which would depend on any sampling procedures adopted. Note that the size of the prison population surveyed is not available for most of the studies displayed in this table, and sample sizes reflect different proportions of the population in different countries.

(4) Bulgaria: due the fear of sanction, it is likely that drug use is under-reported.

Sources:

(1) For access to sources and bibliographic references, refer to Table DUP-0.

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Page last updated: Monday, 09 July 2012