The link between drug use and offending behaviour is well established but has often been overlooked. Evidence-based interventions and treatments are needed to provide alternatives to incarceration and to enhance the outcomes of incarceration. NDRI has established a Justice Health research group that is committed to building capacity among Indigenous researchers with an interest in the criminal justice system. This is supported by an NHMRC capacity building grant. An additional NHMRC grant will investigate the use of a pharmacotherapy to treat impulsive-violent offenders.
There are limited approaches to effectively manage alcohol-related problems in the criminal justice system and this will be a focus of work conducted by NDRI. Similarly, there is a need for effective tobacco interventions with 85% of prisoners smoking tobacco. To progress responses, NDRI aims to stimulate interventions and research in this area by initially implementing a national summit on tobacco smoking in prison. A further initiative will be to conduct the triennial National Prison Entrants Bloodborne Virus Survey in 2010, one of only two nationally collaborated health projects in this area.