Treatment of Drug Use Disorders and Associated Mental Health Disorders in Prison Settings and Forensic Hospitals

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This discussion paper was prepared by UNODC following various requests from the Member States for technical assistance on the treatment of drug use disorders and associated mental health disorders in prison settings.

This effort is related to the United Nations Standards Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules), requesting that the “medical or psychiatric service of the penal institutions shall provide for the psychiatric treatment of all other prisoners who are in need of such treatment”.

Moreover, the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) 2016 Outcome Document suggests “promote and strengthen cooperation in developing and implementing treatment-related initiatives as appropriate and in accordance with national legislation, including access to such services in prisons and after imprisonment, giving special attention to the specific needs of women, children and youth in this regard”.

A total of 35 countries submitted information. Responding countries are distributed over five continents with more than half of all responding countries being in Europe. 

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