Substance use disorders and related health problems in an aging offender population

Madison L. Gates, Michelle Staples-Horne, Veronica Walker, Asher Turney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Substance use disorders (SUD), including alcohol and tobacco, have been associated with chronic, infectious diseases, and mental health disorders. Few studies have examined associations between SUD and health issues for aging offenders (≥ 45 years old), who may have been long-term users. This study investigated associations between SUD and health problems in a prison population (men and women). We included 10,988 offenders, of whom 26.8% were aging. Aging offenders were more likely than younger peers to have health problems, such as cardiovascular diseases and hypertension, (80.8% compared with 63.6%). We found that aging African Americans with SUD had greater odds for being diagnosed with chronic conditions than White peers (p <.0001). Controlling for SUD, cardiovascular disease emerged as the most significant and frequently associated health problem for aging offenders. Results suggest a need to focus on the health of aging offenders with a history of SUD, particularly African Americans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)132-154
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2017


  • African Americans
  • Body mass index
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Hypertension
  • Mental health prisoners
  • Social determinants of health
  • Substance-related disorders
  • Vulnerable populations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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