Prevalence and correlates of in-prison substance use among incarcerated women in Spain

Francisco Caravaca Sánchez, Noelle Fearn, Michael G. Vaughn

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14 Citations (Scopus)


Previous research indicates that drug use is common among incarcerated populations. However, much less research attention has been focused on drug use among female inmates, especially while in prison. The goal of this research was to examine the prevalence and correlates of in-prison drug use among women prisoners. Data were drawn from a random sample of women incarcerated in four regions of Spain in 2014. Self-report assessments of alcohol and drug use were collected. Descriptive analyses and logistic regression models were employed to examine relationships in the data. Overall, the results revealed a high prevalence of substance use while in prison. More than half of study participants (52%) reported using drugs in prison within the past 6 months, with alcohol (33.8%) and cannabis (28.2%) the most commonly reported drugs used. Logistic regression models indicated that age and prior drug use history were significantly associated with in-prison substance use. Notably, criminal history was not a significant predictor of in-prison substance use. Our findings suggest that substance use while in prison may represent a barrier to these women’s rehabilitative goals. Study findings are discussed in terms of developing effective drug treatment programs for women prisoners in the Spanish Prison System.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)356-374
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jul 3

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, © 2017 Taylor & Francis.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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