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Medication Use, Substance Use, and Psychological Conditions of Female Inmates in Canadian Federal Prisons

  • Chantal Plourde (a1), Natasha Dufour (a2), Serge Brochu (a3) and Annie Gendron (a4)

Summary

This study provides data on substance use patterns, including medications, among female inmates in Canadian federal prisons. The participants were interviewed regarding their substance use and their psychological condition before and during incarceration. Their medication cards were also analyzed. The results show that a large proportion (66.9 %) of these incarcerated women reported substance abuse prior to incarceration and exhibited psychological disorders. In prison, if the illicit substance use remained low, most subjects had prescriptions for more than one medication. Furthermore, women with psychotropic medication prescriptions in their file had, on average, prescriptions for two different psychotropic medications. Significant relationships were found between substance misuse before incarceration and illicit substance use or and psychotropic medication use during incarceration. These results support the need to develop integrated services for both addiction and mental health for female offenders during incarceration.

Résumé

Cette étude décrit les habitudes de consommation de substances psychoactives des détenues incarcérées dans les pénitenciers fédéraux canadiens. Les participantes ont été interrogées au sujet de leur utilisation de substances psychoactives et de leur état psychologique avant et pendant l'incarcération. Leur fiche de médicaments prescrits a également été analysée. Les résultats montrent qu'une grande proportion (66,9 %) de ces femmes incarcérées a rapporté des problèmes de dépendance ainsi que des troubles psychologiques avant leur incarcération. Durant leur période d'incarcération, bien que la consommation de substances illicites est demeurée relativement faible, un grand nombre de femmes recevait des médicaments psychoactifs prescrits par les services de santé de l’établissement. Celles qui bénéficiaient de prescriptions de médicaments psychotropes recevaient, en moyenne, deux psychotropes différents. Des relations significatives ont été trouvées entre l'abus de substances avant l'incarcération et l'utilisation de substances illicites et de médicaments psychotropes prescrits au cours de l'incarcération. Ces résultats confirment la nécessité de développer des services intégrés à la fois pour la toxicomanie et la santé mentale pour les délinquantes pendant leur incarcération.

Resumen

Este estudio describe los hábitos de consumo de sustancias psicoactivas por parte de internas en centros penitenciarios federales en Canadá. Se ha preguntado a las participantes sobre la utilización de las sustancias psicoactivas y su estado psicológico antes y durante el internamiento. Asimismo, se han analizado sus fichas de prescripción de medicamentos. Los resultados muestran que una gran parte de estas mujeres internas (un 66,9%), han tenido problemas de dependencia así como trastornos psicológicos antes de su internamiento en el centro penitenciario. Durante su periodo de encarcelamiento, aunque el consumo de sustancias ilícitas se mantuvo relativamente bajo, un gran número de mujeres recibía medicamentos psicoactivos prescritos por los servicios de salud del establecimiento. Las que se beneficiaban de prescripciones de medicamentos psicotrópicos recibían, de media, dos psicotrópicos diferentes. Se han encontrado relaciones significativas entre el abuso de sustancias ilícitas y la prescripción de medicamentos psicotrópicos durante el internamiento. Estos resultados confirman la necesidad de desarrollar servicios integrados a la vez para la toxicomanía y para la salud mental destinados a las delincuentes durante su encarcelamiento.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

1Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to : Chantal Plourde, 3351 boulevard des Forges (1014a, M-S), P.O. Box 500 Trois-Rivières, Québec, Canada G9A 5H7, Telephone: 819-376-5011 ext. 4059 - Fax: 819-376-5210 - E-mail: chantal.plourde@uqtr.ca

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Medication Use, Substance Use, and Psychological Conditions of Female Inmates in Canadian Federal Prisons

  • Chantal Plourde (a1), Natasha Dufour (a2), Serge Brochu (a3) and Annie Gendron (a4)

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