Drug Toxicity Deaths after Release from Incarceration in Ontario, 2006-2013: Review of Coroner’s Cases
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BACKGROUND: There is an increased risk of death due to drug toxicity after release from incarceration. The purpose of this study was to describe the timing, rate and circumstances of drug toxicity deaths following release from incarceration. This information can be used to help design potential preventive interventions. METHODS AND FINDINGS: We reviewed coroner's files to identify deaths in adults in Ontario between 2006 and 2013 caused by drug toxicity (n = 6,978) and these records were matched with provincial correctional records to identify individuals who died within one year of being released from incarceration (n = 702). Twenty percent (n = 137) of the 702 deaths occurred within one week of release. The majority (77%, n = 538) of deaths after release involved one or more opioids. Of the deaths involving opioids, intervention by another person may have been possible in 318 cases. CONCLUSIONS: Between 2006 and 2013 in Ontario, one in ten drug toxicity deaths in adults occurred within one year of release from provincial incarceration. These findings may help to inform the implemention and assessment of interventions aimed at reducing drug toxicity deaths following release from incarceration.
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