Cannabis withdrawal among Indigenous detainees and inmates

Rogerson, Bernadette, and Clough, Alan (2012) Cannabis withdrawal among Indigenous detainees and inmates. Annals of the ACTM, 13 (2). p. 33.

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Background / Aims: Cannabis Withdrawal Syndrome is proposed in the DSM-5 due for release 2013. Problematic cannabis use among remote Indigenous communities has been reported and 'stressing out' has been reported when cannabis is not available. Sudden cessation of cannabis use by remanded/sentenced inmates could further increase risk of 'stressing out' however, the experience of withdrawal has not been considered.

Methods: Indigenous inmates aged 18-40 years were recruited from a far north Queensland Correctional Centre. Retrospective cannabis use, dependence and withdrawal measures prior to incarceration were self-reported. Assessments included other drug use, Time Line Follow Back, Severity of Dependence Scale, Indigenous Risk Impact Screen and Cannabis Withdrawal Checklist.

Results: From 101 males inmates, 89% (n=90) reported lifetime use and 70% (n=70) used cannabis <3 months before prison. Of the 70 current cannabis users, 57% (n=41) believed use was excessive, 63% (n=44) met dependence criteria and reported an average of 2.9 withdrawal symptoms (most likely: irritability/anger/aggression, nervousness/anxiety, sleep difficulties, depression and physical symptoms).

Conclusion: Results reveal heavy and problematic cannabis use and dependence symptoms however, withdrawal is not well defined. To improve assessment and timely treatment of cannabis withdrawal within custodial settings, studies are needed to document onset, time course and severity of symptoms and to assist in management of withdrawal. Findings from this study contributed to NHMRC#1020514 (commencing October 2012) to interview new entrants to prison on eight occasions over 28 days. Assessments validated with biological markers, will examine onset and severity of cannabis withdrawal and psychological distress.

Item ID: 26539
Item Type: Article (Abstract)
ISSN: 1448-4706
Funders: National Health and Medical Research Council
Projects and Grants: Cannabis Withdrawal Project
Date Deposited: 17 Apr 2013 04:03
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111701 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health @ 80%
17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170104 Forensic Psychology @ 20%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9203 Indigenous Health > 920301 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health - Determinants of Health @ 50%
92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920414 Substance Abuse @ 50%
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