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June

Breaking Free shown to reduce substance misuse in Prisons

A new study has demonstrated that offenders using Breaking Free Online show very significant reductions in substance use and underlying substance dependence, and significant improvements in many areas of recovery progression.

The new study in Advancing Corrections, the prestigious Journal of the International Corrections and Prisons Association, has been co-authored by Professor John Weekes of Carleton University, Ottawa, and Dr Samantha Weston of Keele University.  The study reports clinical outcomes from the implementation of the Breaking Free Online (Justice) digital intervention in several prisons in North-West England as part of the Gateways ‘Through the Gate’ initiative. This project examined aspects of throughcare for substance-involved offenders within resettlement prisons.

The study demonstrated that offenders using Breaking Free Online showed very significant reductions in substance use and underlying substance dependence, and significant improvements in many areas of recovery progression. In addition, the study demonstrated tangible continuity of care, with 15% of prisoners who started the programme while in prison continuing their recovery with it in the community following their release.  

Breaking Free Online has been designed to target 50 different substances, including alcohol, new psychoactive substances (NPS) and prescribed medications of abuse. It is the only digital intervention to be accredited by the Correctional Services Accreditation and Advice Panel (CSAAP), the expert body within the Ministry of Justice whose remit is to accredit gold-standard interventions that will reduce reoffending.  

Dr Sarah Elison, Research Director at Breaking Free, commented: “The Justice version of Breaking Free Online was developed specifically for the prison environment. We are excited that the findings of this study suggest it is effective in both reducing the impact of substance misuse within the prison setting and providing genuine continuity of care to help prisoners stay abstinent after they are released.”

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