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“My first 48 hours out” – comprehensive approaches to pre and post prison release interventions for drug users in the criminal justice system” (2017 - 2019)

For prisoners with a history of drug use, in particular opioid use, the risks related to drug use, in particular overdose and death are extremely high in the immediate period after release due to high rates of relapse and lower opioid tolerance. Much still needs to be done in order to ensure that people with a severe history of drug use are sufficiently cared for, when released from prisons. Harm reduction measures need to be in place for ex-prisoners to be able to readjust to freedom without relapsing back into drug use and extreme risk of fatal overdose when released.

The immediate time after release (“my first 48 hours out”) is a critical time for action, when the cooperation between prisons, healthcare providers and NGOs is key in ensuring continuity of care and where targeted interventions can save lives from overdose and build a path towards engagement into further treatment and rehabilitation for drug users.

“My first 48 hours out” aims at  addressing the gaps in the continuity of care for long-term drug users in prison and upon release , by supporting life-saving interventions for the prevention of overdoses and reduction of other risks related to drug use and for the establishment of a treatment path, which does not get interrupted upon release.

The project:

Investigated risk behaviour for people who use drugs and risk prevention upon release. A multi-country (Belgium, France, Germany Portugal) qualitative study including elements of participatory research (user involvement) looked at issues related to: risk behaviour related to drug use upon release, prisoners’ and drug users’ perspectives, personal experiences of incarceration, individual risk reduction mechanisms, knowledge of risks and overdose prevention and strategies to avoid risks when being released.

Developed overdose prevention and risk reduction educational materials and toolkit, including feedback from the communities of people who use drugs and experts. The material was developed in such a way to become user-friendly also for interventions with drug users.

The“Over the walls” research report looked into models of good practice for continuity of care for drug users upon release  coming from the experiences of continuity of care from 4 European countries (Belgium, France, Germany and Portugal).

An e-learning module on naloxone and overdose prevention was added to the collection of e-learning materials in the website

A “Knowledge and expertise web portal” on prison health and social rehabilitation  showcased materials and information produced and collected by the project. The web portal served as a capacity building instrument for policy-makers and service providers working in the field of prison health and social rehabilitation of former prisoners.

The project is implemented by Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences, in partnership with, Centre Pierre Nicole, French Red Cross – Centre Pierre Nicole in Paris, University of Gent in Belgium, the NGO APDES in Portugal, and the NGO De Regenboog Groep in the Netherlands, as coordinator of the Correlation Network.

The project run between February 2017 and January 2019.

See also:


Project director: Prof. Dr. Heino Stover Project manager: Arailym Erkebaeva
Tel.: (069) 1533-2823
Email: [email protected]
Web: www. 
Tel.: (069) 1533-3124
Email: [email protected]
Web: www.