High mortality risk from alcohol, drug abuse among prisoners
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Alcohol and drug abuse results in serious complications on multiple levels, including to the individual, families, communities and society as a whole. Understanding the implications of substance abuse and addiction can increase treatment effectiveness and prevention methods, which are crucial for assisting the countless individuals who might find themselves struggling.

High death rates among ex-prisoners

One population group that is often overlooked are prisoners, or the men and women who have been in prison at some point and have reintegrated into society. Both substance addiction and psychiatric disorders commonly occur and develop within the prison population, and death rates among individuals who have been released from prison are high. Few studies have examined the factors that might be responsible for high death rates among ex-prisoners, though recent research could shed more light on this issue.

Impact of substance addiction among prisoners

A team of researchers from the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom has studied possible factors that might be responsible for the high death rates among ex-prisoners. By analyzing data from almost 50,000 men and women who had been imprisoned in Sweden, researchers investigated the impact of alcohol and drug use as well as other psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia and depression.

From the data gathered, researchers found that a history of alcohol and drug abuse considerably increased the risk of death among former prisoners, with substance abuse accounting for approximately 34 percent of deaths among ex-prisoners who were male and 50 percent of deaths among ex-prisoners who were female. In response to these findings from research, the authors of this study noted: “Our results show high mortality in people released from prison, and the substantial contribution of substance use disorders to this mortality. We provide evidence that supports a causal role for substance use disorders in post-release mortality, and that these disorders might be useful to identify high-risk groups.”

The findings from this particular study are relevant in that they give greater insight into prevention for a specialized population. There exists potential opportunity for treating substance abuse in prisoners who are at risk. Introducing treatment for substance abuse addiction in prisons could be an effective way to reduce mortality in ex-prisoners and improve overall public safety.

Treatment for alcohol and drug abuse

If you or someone you care for is dealing with substance addiction, seek professional help for intervention, treatment and recovery. Sovereign Health of California offers a variety of programs and treatment approaches that can assist individuals in their journey to recovery. Call (866) 819-0427 for a free, confidential assessment or for more information.

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