Alcohol and other drug use of Aboriginal people involved in the NSW criminal justice system
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are imprisoned at 13 times the rate of other Australians. Alcohol and other drug (AoD) use and associated problematic behaviour is a contributing factor towards this over imprisonment. In this presentation we report the patterns of AoD use among Aboriginal men and women prior to prison from the latest (2015) Justice Health and Forensic Mental Health Network of NSW survey of patients in prison. We compare results between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal men and women. We consider the different AoD treatment and support needs for these two groups in prison and after release.
Comparative analysis of AoD use indicators of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal men and women from the Justice Health and Forensic Mental Health Network of NSW Patient Health Survey.
The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) was used to assess alcohol use with a score of 8+ on AUDIT indicating possible alcohol use disorder and 20+ possibly dependence.
A higher proportion of Aboriginal men and women had an AUDIT score of 8+ than non-Aboriginal men and women. A higher proportion of Aboriginal women than Aboriginal men had an AUDIT score of 20+. A higher proportion of Aboriginal people also used cannabis on a daily or almost daily basis before prison than non-Aboriginal. Almost all non-Aboriginal people who reported they committed an offence to support AoD use had done so to exclusively support drug use (not alcohol use). While a larger proportion of Aboriginal people committed offences to support either alcohol or drug use or both together.
For Aboriginal people there is a need for focus on alcohol and cannabis within prison treatment programs. There may need for specific support for relapse prevention for Aboriginal men and women leaving prison to decrease their AoD use or abstain in the future.