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Contact with treatment services among arrested drug users

  • Mervyn London (a1), Juan Canitrot (a2), Adrian Dzialdowski (a3), Robert Bates (a4) and Alan Gwynn (a5)...
Abstract
Aims and Method

To identify the proportion of arrested drug misusers with prior contact with treatment services, police surgeons' records were examined over a 12-month period and compared with the records of the local drug misuse services. Both referrals and those who attended with face-to-face contact were noted.

Results

Sixty-seven per cent of drug-related cases had been referred to services prior to arrest and 58% had attended with face-to-face contact on at least one occasion. Homeless and male drug users were more likely to have had no past contact. Police surgeons treated three-quarters of the cases for opiate dependence. Drug misusers were much more likely to have had past contact with services than arrested alcohol misusers, and were more likely to reoffend.

Clinical Implications

The evidence base for motivational enhancement in the transient coercive setting of police custody is not established, and arrest referral schemes might not be cost-effective in areas where most cases have had previous contact with services. Local research may contribute to more informed decisions about these treatment-related criminal justice initiatives.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
References
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Bennett, T. (1998) Drugs and Crime: The Results of Research on Drug Testing and Interviewing Arrestees. Home Office Research Study 183.
Edmunds, M. (1998) Arrest Referral: Emerging Lessons from Research. Home Office Drugs Prevention Initiative.
Miller, W. R. (1998) Why do People Change Addictive Behaviour? The 1996 David Archibald Lecture. Addiction, 93, 163172.
Pearson, R., Robertson, G. & Gibb, R. (2000) The identification and treatment of opiate users in police custody. Medicine, Science and the Law, 40, 305312.
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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 0955-6036
  • EISSN: 1472-1473
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
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Contact with treatment services among arrested drug users

  • Mervyn London (a1), Juan Canitrot (a2), Adrian Dzialdowski (a3), Robert Bates (a4) and Alan Gwynn (a5)...
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