PriSUD-Nordic Diagnosing and treating substance use in prison

A collaborative Nordic longitudinal study of the epidemiology of people with substance use disorder in prisons in Norway, Sweden and Denmark to provide better treatment, health and life expectancies for inmates and former inmates.


The overall objective of PriSUD Nordic is to develop new knowledge contributing to better mental and physical health, improved quality of life and better life expectancies among people with substance use disorder (SUD) in prison. Another goal of the project is to communicate research results to current and former inmates, prison staff, user organizations, healthcare service providers, policy makers and the general public.


About half of the prison population have substance use disorders when they enter prison and after release, the risk of overdose death and relapse to drug use is high. Thus, the detection of substance use disorders, accompanied by adequate treatment will significantly improve the overall health status of the communities from which the prisoners come and to which they return.

Read more about the PriSUD Nordic-project

The Study

PriSUD-Nordic project is a collaboration project among Norway, Sweden and Denmark. The project will analyze and compare data from various public registers with information on the population healthcare encounters, substance use treatment and imprisonment. We investigate three periods of the target group for the project: the time before imprisonment, while in prison and after release from prison. The study will be conducted in three different ways:

  1. Analysis and comparison of data from public registers with information on the population healthcare encounters, substance use treatment and imprisonment
  2. Ethnografic field work with observations of substance use disorder treatment in prison and inmates with substance use disorder
  3. Semi-structured qualitative interviews with prison staff, health care workers, inmates and people in user organisations


South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority (HSØ) in collaboration with Norwegian Centre for Addiction Research (SERAF) at the Institute for Clinical Medicine at the University of Oslo.


Department of Criminology and Sociology of Law, University of Oslo
Karolinska Institute, Sweden
WayBack, a nonprofit organization committed to bringing former inmates back into society
University College of Norwegian Correctional Service (KRUS)
The Red Cross - social network upon release
University of Oxford, England
The Prison Project, a collaboration of several Dutch institutions
The Worldwide Prison Health Research & Engagement Network (WEPHREN)
Madeclear, a research communication company

Watch video on PriSUD-Nordic