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“Phewww, bingoed!”: Motivations and variations of methods for using heroin in Scottish prisons

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Graeme Wilson


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While prison is recognised as a setting for infectious disease transmission among drug users, little is known about psychological and situational factors influencing high-risk behaviours, knowledge vital to prison-based interventions. Qualitative interview and focus group data were collected from staff and prisoners in six Scottish prisons. A general view was that prison heroin use had increased, but injecting and sharing remained a covert and minority behaviour. ‘Anti-injecting culture’ among staff and most prisoners emerged as an important factor, though not linked by prisoners to an ‘anti-drug culture’. Of individual and social risk factors identified, only the desire to inject in prison for maximum effect was unique to prison injectors and sharers. This decision-based behaviour requires further theory-focused research. Given these findings, introducing needle exchanges into Scottish prisons could undermine their low drug injection rates. Enabling injecting, albeit within a public health framework, conflicts with the major prison objective of rehabilitation.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Wilson GB, Galloway J, Shewan D, Marshall L, Vojt G, Marley C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Addiction Research & Theory

Year: 2007

Volume: 15

Issue: 2

Pages: 205-224

Print publication date: 01/04/2007

ISSN (print): 1606-6359

ISSN (electronic): 1476-7392


DOI: 10.1080/16066350601160639


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