The prison inmates, once released after serving their
period in prison, are far from breathing a sigh of relief. The social stigma
associated with the prisons puts them under various hardships, which question
their very survival in the society.
The higher incidence of drug
abuse and related deaths among the former prison inmates, within months of
their release, had prompted a team of researchers in the United States to look
into the factors influencing the relapse to drugs and subsequent overdose among
the former inmates.
The team interviewed 29 former
prisoners, released within the past two months, about their drug usage. They
were also encouraged to share their experience and ideas for drug abstinence. Over
half the participants had been acquainted with someone who overdosed and 3 of
them had personally overdosed.
It was found that being neglected
by the society, the participants had struggled to find a job and a place to
live in. And this had made their lives highly stressful.
Due to their deteriorated
financial status, some of the former prisoners who had been suffering from
health ailments had not been able to access medical facilities.
It was noted that due to the inaccessibility to basic
needs, prisoners most often resort to drugs, soon after their release, to give
vent to their stress and in some cases go to the extreme level of ending their
lives by getting overdosed.
Many participants living in
shelters had attributed the relapse to drugs, to the ease of drug availability
in their surroundings and the company of people who encourage them in substance
The participants had opined that
the well-guided rehabilitation programs, getting involved in religious and
spiritual proceedings, and bonding with their families and other
community-based organizations were highly beneficial in abstaining from drugs.
Analyzing the factors and the
suggestions of the participants, the experts concluded that a well-designed
intervention program, helping the released prisoners to cope up with the stress
and prevent them from resorting to drugs, is very much essential immediately
after their release from the prison.
Return to drug use and overdose after release from prison: a qualitative study
of risk and protective factors; Ingrid A Binswanger et al; BMC Addiction
Science & Clinical Practice.