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The Hit and miss: exploring the health and service needs of ex-prisoners with a history of injecting drug use project is a research project undertaken by the Justice Health Working Group at the Burnet Institute. This project provides a comprehensive examination of the health service needs of post-release prisoners with a history of injecting drug use in Victoria. The project also examines risk behaviours (in particular those associated with blood-borne virus (BBV) transmission) among this group, and seek to identify areas where the service system does not meet the actual and/or perceived needs of this group during a particularly vulnerable period.
The project will investigate the barriers and enablers linking people with a history of injecting drugs to health services during the immediate post-prison release period. The project also includes a systematic review of research examining hepatitis C virus (HCV) transmission and service utilisation by post-release prisoners, in addition to a mapping exercise of services available to Victorian prisoners.
The project cohort will be recruited within one month of their prison release and administered a baseline interview. Participants will then be interviewed again at three and six months to examine their treatment utilisation, experiences in accessing health and support services, the perceived barriers and enablers to service access and their post-release and prison drug use patterns and BBV risk practices.
Approximately 30 ex-prisoners released more than six months previously and with a background of injecting drug use will also be recruited to discuss issues similar to those covered in the cohort interview schedule. The data elicited from these in-depth interviews will provide a retrospective 'lessons learned' narrative of participant experiences regarding health needs, access to health and support services and post-release HCV risk practices.
Abstract adapted from Justice Health Working Group (Burnet Institute)
Doctor Mark A Stoove
Senior Research Fellow, Head of HIV, AIDS and STI Research
Centre for Population Health
Ph: (03) 8506 2301