In Poland, until the end of 2016, drug prevention activities were governed by the national programme for 2011-16, which aims to reduce the demand for drugs in Polish society, for example by synchronising institutional responses and implementing activities in relation to the general public, as well as selected target populations, such as children and adolescents at school or other groups that are particularly at risk of drug use. An important element of the national programme was increased emphasis on improving the quality of drug prevention programmes, as well as the competencies of programme providers. The prevention activities are implemented by government administration units (competent ministries and subordinate agencies), as well as local and regional governments.
The Ministry of National Education is responsible for universal drug prevention in schools and an Anti-drug Action Plan has been adopted to improve the quality of drug prevention activities in schools and educational facilities.
Prevention interventions encompass a wide range of approaches, which are complementary. Environmental and universal strategies target entire populations, selective prevention targets vulnerable groups that may be at greater risk of developing drug use problems and indicated prevention focuses on at-risk individuals.
Schools and other units within the framework of the education system are obliged to implement a school prevention programme for children and young people. Health education is part of the core curriculum defined by the Regulation of the Ministry of National Education and adopted in 2012. Educational settings are also encouraged to adopt healthpromoting school principles to strengthen students’ normative beliefs and psychosocial skills as protective factors against drug use. The National Bureau for Drug Prevention supported the nationwide dissemination of the Unplugged programme, which is a universal drug prevention programme that targets students aged 12-14 years. The evaluation of this programme in Poland demonstrated its positive impact on the reduction of cannabis use and alcohol consumption. The evaluation also found that the programme reduced positive beliefs and attitudes regarding addictive substances and increased knowledge and competence among parents.
In 2015, the Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology supported educational skills programmes for parents and teachers, such as ‘Home Detectives’ and ‘Fantastic Opportunities’. The programmes target teenagers entering adolescence, as well as their parents and teachers, and aims to prevent or delay initiation of alcohol use.
The National Bureau for Drug Prevention supported a number of programmes in 2015 that focused on parents with the aim of strengthening educational and specific skills to cope with drug dependence in the family. Activities included educational and awareness classes for families on the mechanisms of drug dependence and co-dependence, family counselling, crisis interventions, support groups for families, educational skills workshops and legal assistance/ consultations. As part of this task, evidence-based programmes listed in the database of recommended drug prevention and mental health promotion programmes, such as the Family Strengthening Programme and School for Parents and Educators, were supported financially.
Selective prevention programmes are mainly concerned with risk reduction, the promotion of healthy lifestyles and assistance in crises related to substance use for socially excluded children and adolescents. In 2015, the early intervention programme, FreD goes net, was further disseminated. The programme’s main focus is the reduction of substance use among adolescents who have committed drug-related offences. Some programmes targeting occasional drug users in entertainment settings are also available.
Indicated prevention activities mostly encourage and help to maintain abstinence from drugs, prevent further development of substance dependence, shape adequate normative beliefs regarding drugs and promote healthy lifestyles. The programmes feature awareness activities concerning drugs and the mechanisms of drug dependence, drug law, critical interventions, psychosocial skills workshops, support groups and evaluation.
Provision of interventions in schools in Poland (expert ratings)
NBYear of data 2015.