The National Programme for Counteracting Drug Addiction 2011-16 sets out priorities in harm reduction. As part of the main goal of improving the quality of life of drug users, two actions were set out: support for harm reduction programmes in the community and increasing the number and variety of specialist treatment programmes in penal institutions, youth detention centres and hostels for minors, including opioid substitution treatment (OST) and harm reduction for drug-dependent individuals. Needle and syringe programmes are co-financed by local governments and the National Bureau for Drug Prevention. In addition, local governments fund additional services, such as the night shelters, hostels or day-care centres that are provided within their territories.
Harm reduction programmes have been conducted in Poland since 1996. However, needle and syringe programmes have been available since 1989. These are additional services that are provided at selected outpatient clinics but are not implemented as independent programmes. Harm reduction interventions are mainly conducted by NGOs in large cities and include outreach and street-based services.
In 2015, a total of 12 needle and syringe programmes operated in 11 Polish cities; however, this number has been in decline since 2001, when 23 programmes operated in 21 cities.
In 2015, over 100 000 syringes were distributed to around 1 360 PWID who attended these specialised programmes. The decreasing number of syringes given out and clients reached by these programmes is attributed to a decrease in funding and a change in the priorities of harm reduction programmes towards recreational drug users.
Availability of selected harm reduction responses
NB Year of data 2016.
The National Health Fund (NHF) plans to systematically increase the availability and reach of programmes that aim to reduce and treat infectious diseases in the next few years, in particular by contracting antiretroviral treatment services and by providing vaccination against HBV and counselling and testing for HCV and HIV.
Over 100 000 syringes were distributed in 2015 through needle and syringe programmes