Authors: Marcel Buster, Tina Dorn, Manon Ceelen, Kees Das.
The Forensic Medical Service of the Public Health Service offers health care to detainees in police cells in Amsterdam. This study describes the registered mental health, addiction and social problems and compares them to the self-reported problems among a sample of detainees. Registers of the Forensic Medical Service are related to information from registers of police detention episodes. A general assessment of substance use, mental health and social problems is obtained by interviewing a sample of 264 detainees. The Forensic Medical Service was contacted in 24% of the 17,321 detention episodes. In 14% of the episodes mental or substance related disorders were observed. Within the sample 59% scored positively on indicators of substance abuse or mental health problems, 35% had additional social problems (debts, unemployment, housing). This proportion increased with age. It is concluded that substance abuse and mental health problems combined with social problems are highly prevalent among detainees, especially among the older ones. This urges for a close cooperation between Public Mental Health Care and Forensic Medical Services.