Objective: The objective of this study was to compare social and penal characteristics and consumption of psychoactive substances by alcohol-dependent and non-dependent inmates of the Lyon's prison in 2004.
Methods: The study was carried out among 2033 male adults incarcerated between January 1st and December 31st 2004. An administered questionnaire was proposed during the arrival visit to record social, administrative and penal data. Use of tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs was quantified.
Results: In all, 1898 questionnaires were analysed. Comparison between alcohol-dependent (n=356) versus non alcohol-dependent inmates (n=1542), revealed that the alcohol-dependent population was older, mean age (34 years old versus 30 years, p<0.001), and had a higher unemployment rate (50% versus 39.4%, p<0.001). Alcohol addicts were more often repeated offenders (62% versus 50.7%, p=0.001), had a higher rate of Subutex mixture (11% versus 3.2%, p<0.001) and presented more psychic suffering (21% versus 6%, p<0.001). Multivariate analysis identified use of psychotop drugs, use of psychoactive substances, age and familial situation as significantly and independently associated with the abusise alcohol consumption.
Conclusion: Because of an elevated prevalence of alcohol dependence among arriving penitentiary inmates, effective screening is needed to prevent withdrawal syndrome and propose care adapted to the specific features of this dependent population: social insecurity and polydrug abuse.