Drug harms in Poland 2017

Poland Country Drug Report 2017

Drug harms

Drug-related infectious diseases

In Poland, data on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections are collected by the National Institute of Public Health- National Institute of Hygiene (NIPH-NIH). This institute also analyses data that are reported by Provincial Sanitary and Epidemiological Stations for the whole country. By the end of 2015, a total of 20 156 cases of HIV infection had been notified by the NIPH-NIH and just under one third of these were among people who inject drugs (PWID). The number of newly reported cases of HIV infection among PWID indicated a downward trend, which has levelled off in recent years. However, there is a risk that the number of cases has been underestimated, as the transmission route is not reported in a large proportion of cases

Data on HIV infections among PWID are also available directly from a network of consultation and testing sites (PKD) that provides anonymous and free HIV testing combined with preliminary consultations. This information is also collected by the NIPH-NIH from the laboratories providing diagnostic testing. The estimated prevalence of HIV among 506 PWID (ever and current injectors) tested in 2014 was 3.0 %. Surveys of clients in needle and syringe exchange programmes estimated the prevalence of HIV at 47 % in 2014 among clients who had injected drugs at least once in the month preceding the study.

Regarding HCV infection, in 2012, of 2 173 cases of chronic HCV infection in which the transmission route was known, about 158 listed injecting drug use as a possible transmission route, while 1 of 41 cases of acute HCV infection was linked with injecting drug use.

In an HBV and HCV seroprevalence study conducted among 184 PWID at two sites in 2009, HCV prevalence ranged between 44.3 % and 72.4 %, while the prevalence of HbsAg, which indicates chronic HBV infection, was 3.23 %. Out of 68 notified cases of acute HBV infection in 2014, one was linked to injecting drug use.

According to more recent surveys of clients of needle and syringe exchange programmes, around 70 % of tested clients who have injected a drug at least once in the month preceding the study were HCV positive.

Newly diagnosed HIV cases attributed to injecting drug use

NB Year of data 2015, or latest available year. Source: ECDC.


Prevalence of HIV and HCV antibodies among people who inject drugs in Poland

NBYear of data 2015.


Drug-related emergencies

In 2014, 2 424 medical interventions suspected to be linked to NPS use were registered in Poland by the Poisonings Control Centre. The number of reported medical interventions linked to NPS was almost three times higher in 2015 than in 2014, with a total of 7 284 poisonings reported.

The emergency room of a hospital in Gdansk also participates in the European Drug Emergencies Network (Euro-DEN) project, which was established in 2013 to monitor acute drug toxicity in sentinel centres across Europe. Available data show that there was a large increase in the number of presentations between the 2013/14 and 2014/15 data collection rounds of the study.


Characteristics of and trends in drug-induced deaths in Poland

NB Year of data 2015.

Drug-induced deaths and mortality

Drug-induced deaths are deaths directly attributable to the use of illicit drugs (i.e. poisonings and overdoses).

The main source of information on drug-related deaths in Poland is the Central Statistical Office (GUS), which collects data based on the 10th Revision of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-10); however, certain codes of ICD-10 are not used in Poland and, as a result, the substances involved in drug-induced deaths in most cases cannot be reported, which limits the application of the EMCDDA protocol. The Polish data extracted from the GUS are, therefore, not strictly comparable with data from other national general mortality registers.

Data from the General Mortality Register show that, after a decrease in 2012, the number of drug-induced deaths increased in 2013 and 2014 to the levels seen in 2011.

In 2014, two thirds of victims of drug-related deaths were male.

The drug-induced mortality rate among adults (aged 15-64 years) in 2014 was 9.4 deaths per million, which is below the European average of 20.3 deaths per million

Drug-induced mortality rates among adults (15-64)

NB Year of data 2015, or latest available year.

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