Poland Country Drug Report 2017

Drug use

Prevalence and trends

In Poland, cannabis is the most commonly used illicit drug among the general population, followed by amphetamines, MDMA/ecstasy and cocaine. Drug use is mainly concentrated among young adults, with those aged 25-34 years being more likely than younger or older adults to report using an illicit substance during the last year. In general, males are more likely than females to report the use of drugs.

In 2014, 1 in 10 young adults aged 15-34 years reported using cannabis in the last year. The prevalence of cannabis use increased between the 2006 and 2014 surveys.

Lifetime use of new psychoactive substances (NPS) among 15- to 64-year-olds was low in 2014, at 2.2 %.

Krakow participates in the Europe-wide annual wastewater campaigns undertaken by the Sewage Analysis Core Group Europe (SCORE). This study provides data on drug use at a community level, based on the levels of different illicit drugs and their metabolites in sources of wastewater. In 2016, amphetamine was the most prevalent target drug residue measured in wastewater in Krakow. The levels of metabolites of methamphetamine, cocaine and MDMA detected in wastewater were low, indicating limited use of these substances in Krakow.


Estimates of last-year drug use among young adults (16-34 years) in Poland

NBEstimated last-year prevalence of drug use in 2014.


Substance use among 15- to 16- year-old school students in Poland

NBSource: ESPAD study 2015.

The most recent data on drug use among students come from the 2015 European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drug (ESPAD). In 2015, Polish students’ reported lifetime use of all categories of drugs (cannabis, NPS and illicit drugs other than cannabis) was higher than the European average (based on data from 35 countries). Use of alcohol in the last 30 days and heavy episodic drinking were around the European average and use of cigarettes in the last 30 days was slightly higher. The long-term analysis shows that cannabis use tripled between 1995 and 2015, while lifetime use of alcohol and cigarettes decreased over the same period.

High-risk drug use and trends

Studies reporting estimates of high-risk drug use can help to identify the extent of the more entrenched drug use problems, while data on the first-time entrants to specialised drug treatment centres, when considered alongside other indicators, can inform understanding on the nature and trends in high-risk drug use.

The most recent estimate of the number of high-risk opioid users in Poland was based on 2013 treatment data and nominations from the 2015 population survey using the benchmark method, which is one of a group of multiplier methods. It was estimated that there were 14 664 high-risk opioid users (range 10 915-18 412).

A survey in 2014-15 based on the Severity of Dependence Scale and the Problem Cannabis Use screening test reported a prevalence of high-risk cannabis use among 15- to 64-year-olds ranging from 0.2 % to 0.3 % and estimated that the number of high-risk cannabis users in Poland at that time was between 54 000 and 108 000.

Data from specialised treatment centres are based on a recently developed reporting system that includes fewer than half of specialised treatment centres in the country. Trend analysis is also heavily affected by the rapid expansion of the data coverage. Based on the available data, cannabis was the most commonly reported primary substance for first-time clients entering treatment during 2015, followed by amphetamines. Approximately one in five clients entering treatment was female, although females account for a smaller proportion of those entering treatment for primary cannabis use.

A survey of current injecting drug users who entered harm reduction programmes in 2014 found that the importance of opioids or amphetamine as a main problem substance has fallen since the similar 2008 survey, while alcohol has become the most common problem substance. In addition, NPS were reported as the most problematic substance by about one quarter of those surveyed in 2014.

The most recent estimate indicates that there are 14 664 high-risk opioid users in Poland


National estimates of last year prevalence of high-risk opioid use

NBYear of data 2015, or latest available year..


Characteristics and trends of drug users entering specialised drug treatment in Poland

NBYear of data 2015. Data is for first-time entrants, except for gender which is for all treatment entrants.

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