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Monitoring substance use in prisons: Assessing the potential value of wastewater analysis


van Dyken, EL and Thai, P and Lai, FY and Ort, C and Prichard, JP and Bruno, RB and Hall, W and Kirkbride, P and Mueller, JF, Monitoring substance use in prisons: Assessing the potential value of wastewater analysis, Science and Justice, 54, (5) pp. 338-345. ISSN 1355-0306 (2014) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2014 Elsevier

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.scijus.2014.06.006


Prison substance use is amajor concern for prison authorities and thewider community. Australia has responded to this problemby implementing the National Corrections Drug Strategy. Across Australia, the true extent of prison substance use cannot be determined. As a result, the effectiveness of the interventions employed as part of this strategy cannot be properly assessed. This has important implications for the allocation of corrective services resources and future policy development. This article explores the benefits and limitations, as well as the ethical and practical issues in using wastewater analysis (WWA) to measure levels of substance use in prisons. It reports results fromthe first application ofWWA to an Australian prison, which supports the use ofWWA in this context. Given the increasing concern for prescription misuse in prisons, we also highlight the novel use ofWWA tomeasure the extent of prescription misuse by prisoners. The article concludes that as a result of its objectivity, sensitivityand cost-effectiveness, the use ofWWA in prisons warrants further consideration in Australia.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Sewage epidemiology, Prison, Drug monitoring, Drug-use Australia
Research Division:Law and Legal Studies
Research Group:Legal systems
Research Field:Legal institutions (incl. courts and justice systems)
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Justice and the law
Objective Field:Rehabilitation and correctional services
UTAS Author:van Dyken, EL (Miss Emma van Dyken)
UTAS Author:Prichard, JP (Professor Jeremy Prichard)
UTAS Author:Bruno, RB (Associate Professor Raimondo Bruno)
ID Code:95904
Year Published:2014
Web of Science® Times Cited:15
Deposited By:Faculty of Law
Deposited On:2014-10-10
Last Modified:2017-11-01

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