High drug use linked to mental disorder

NEARLY half of all police detainees in areas with high drug use had a mental disorder, a study released by the Australian Institute of Criminology revealed on Tuesday.

While the survey did not include regional centres, it revealed a strong correlation between police detainees, drug use and diagnosable mental problems across the nation.

Report author Lubica Forsythe said 41% of those surveyed during their detainment said they had been diagnosed with a mental disorder.

Of those who did not report previous diagnosis, 42% of women were diagnosed with possible current disorders, compared with 28% of men.

Ms Forsythe said understanding the extent of mental illness among those who came into contact with the criminal justice system was extremely important for the government and resourcing.

While the general population's most common mental illness was anxiety, in detainees, mood disorders such as depression and bipolar were the most common.

Of those surveyed, 51% with mental disorders had used at least one illegal drug in the past four weeks, with the link between drug use and mental disorders in women even higher at 66%.


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