The official journal of
EUROPAD - European Opiate Addiction Treatment Association
WFTOD - World Federation for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence
Editor: Icro Maremmani, MD - Pisa, Italy, EU
Associate Editors:
Thomas Clausen, MD - Oslo, Norway
Pier Paolo Pani, MD - Cagliari, Italy, EU
Marta Torrens, MD - Barcelona, Spain, EU
Statistical Editor:
Mario Miccoli, PhD - Pisa, Italy, EU

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Heroin Addiction and Related Clinical Problems: 2023, 25, N1 (pages: 13 - 19)

Previously Used Substances and Predictors of Illicit Drug Use among Incarcerated Male Prisoners in Galle, Sri Lanka

Darshana N., Ruben R., and Wijesinghe C.

Summary: Background. A significant proportion of prison admissions are related to illicit drug use in many countries, including Sri Lanka. There is a direct relationship between illicit drug use and criminal behaviour. This study aimed to assess predictors for illicit drug use among incarcerated males in the Galle prison system. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 441 incarcerated males in the prison complex in Galle and were selected using simple random sampling. A pre-tested, interviewer-assisted, self-administered questionnaire was used to assess the history of illicit drug use behaviour and possible predictors related to drug use. Addiction to illicit drugs and problematic levels of drug use were determined using the ICD 10 symptom check list and the Drug Abuse Screening Test (DAST-20). Results: Past illicit drug use was reported among 57.59% (n=254) of incarcerated males in the Galle prison system. Among them, 58.2% were addicted to heroin. Being younger in age and unmarried, engaging in manual labour and tobacco and alcohol use were identified as predictors for prior illicit drug use among male prison inmates. Younger inmates and those with a history of polydrug use were more likely to be addicted to illicit drugs. Conclusions: Age, marital status, occupation, and status of drug use were identified as predictors for illicit drug use among prison inmates creating a considerable burden for the criminal justice system of the country. An urgent attention of policy makers is needed to address the prevention of the illicit drug use in the country.


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