Drug use prior to incarceration and associated socio-behavioural factors among males in a provincial correctional facility in Ontario, Canada
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OBJECTIVES: To describe the prevalence of drug use in males in a provincial detention centre during the year before incarceration and to examine the association between socio-demographic and behavioural factors and drug use. METHODS: In 2009, 500 adult males completed a survey after admission to a provincial detention centre in Ontario. Past-year prevalence rates were calculated for the use of opioids, cocaine, crack and methamphetamine, and by route of administration. Bivariate logistic regression was used to examine associations between drug use and socio-demographic and behavioural factors. RESULTS: More than 56% of participants reported use of opioids, cocaine, crack or methamphetamine in the previous year. Risk factors for blood-borne and sexually transmitted infections were commonly reported for the previous year: 12.2% had injected drugs, 78.0% had had unprotected sex, and 48.0% had had more than one sexual partner. In unadjusted analyses, participants who were older than 24 years were more likely to have used any drugs and to have injected drugs in the previous year. CONCLUSIONS: This study provides the first Canadian data in the past decade on drug use by recently incarcerated adults. We found that drug use and behaviours that increase the risk of transmission of sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections remain very common in this population. Incarceration provides an opportunity to provide services and links to programs for people who use drugs, which could decrease drug-related harms to individuals and society.
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