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Coming off drugs in prison: Drug withdrawal and prison time

Walmsley, Ian


Ian Walmsley
Senior Lecturer in Criminology


The paper reports on findings from a qualitative study on experiences of coming off heroin in prison. Existing research is mostly evaluation studies of professional treatment services in which drug dependent prisoners are conceptualised as passive recipients of prison healthcare, rather than active participants. This paper explores the ways that drug dependent prisoners are active in taking care of their bodies during heroin withdrawal. Ten participants who were recently released from local prisons were recruited with the help of a community drug treatment agency. A preliminary analysis of key themes identified the importance of multiple temporalities and self-care to the experience of coming off drugs in prison. The discussion will locate these themes within the criminological and sociological literature on time, drug use and time and prison culture.


Walmsley, I. (2016, September). Coming off drugs in prison: Drug withdrawal and prison time. Paper presented at British Medical Sociology, Aston University, UK

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (unpublished)
Conference Name British Medical Sociology
Conference Location Aston University, UK
Start Date Sep 6, 2016
End Date Sep 8, 2016
Acceptance Date Jul 8, 2016
Publication Date Jan 1, 2016
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Keywords drugs, prison, withdrawal
Public URL
Additional Information Title of Conference or Conference Proceedings : British Medical Sociology