Poland country overview

Poland country overview

Map of Poland

About NFP: 

The Polish national focal point (Centrum Informacji o Narkotykach i Narkomanii/ Information Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction) was established in 2001 and is located within the National Bureau for Drug Prevention under the auspices of the Ministry of Health. The National Bureau for Drug Prevention is a state institution established to implement Poland’s drug policies in the drug demand reduction field. The legal basis for the national focal point and its activity is provided by a Parliamentary Act.

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Last updated: Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Drug use among the general population and young people

Content for prevalence: 

General population surveys on the use of psychoactive substances have been conducted in Poland every four years since 2002 (2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014). The most recent general population survey on drug use was conducted among 1 135 people aged 15–64. Cannabis had the highest lifetime prevalence, at 16.2 %. This was followed by amphetamines at 1.7 %, ecstasy at 1.6 %, and cocaine at 1.3 %. Last year prevalence of cannabis use was about 4.6 % and last month prevalence was 2.1 %. In terms of age distribution, the highest proportion of use was found among young adults aged 25–34. Lifetime prevalence of cannabis use among this age group was reported at 30.9 %, last year prevalence at 10.3 % and last month prevalence at 5.7 %. With regard to gender, males reported the use of any illicit drug more frequently than females. The survey reports that about 1.3 % of respondents had ever used new psychoactive substances, with males reporting ten times higher lifetime prevalence rates than females (2.6 % and 0.2 % respectively).

The 2014 data indicate that the sharp rise in drug use prevalence between 2006 and 2010 has halted, or there may even have been a decreased.

A comparison between the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD) studies conducted in Poland among 15- to 16-year-old students from 1995 to 2011 shows that the lifetime prevalence of cannabis use varied from 8 % in 1995 to 14 % in 1999, and increased to 18 % in 2003. The latest ESPAD results, for 2011, showed a further increase to 23 %. Lifetime prevalence for inhalants was 8 % (6 % in 2007), for amphetamines 4 %, and for cocaine and hallucinogens 3 %. For all other substances it was 2 % or less (for GHB it was 1 %). Last year prevalence of cannabis use was 19 % in 2011 (12 % in 2007), and last month prevalence was 10 % (6 % in 2007). With regard to gender, lifetime prevalence of cannabis use was 28 % among males and 18 % among females, and had increased since 2007 for both groups. The results of the Health Behaviour Survey in School-aged Children (HBSC) survey, conducted in 2013/14, indicated lifetime prevalence of cannabis use at 26 % among 15- to 16-year-old boys and 22 % among girls; like the ESPAD study, the HBSC study also suggests there has been an increase in cannabis use among students since 2010.

In 2009–12 Poland was one of the few European countries to estimate the population of drug users based on the study of sewage water in four cities.

Some other studies examining drug use prevalence among the general population and young people are reported in the 2014 National report for Poland.

Look for Prevalence of drug use in the Statistical bulletin for more information.


Content for prevention: 

The National Bureau for Drug Prevention (NBDP) is a main governmental agency established to coordinate activities for drug prevention. Apart from its coordination role, the NBDP, together with local governments, also provides funding for prevention. Local governments fund the implementation of prevention activities in communities from alcohol licencing fee revenues.

The Ministry of National Education is responsible for universal drug prevention in schools, and an Anti-drug Action Plan was adopted to improve the quality of drug prevention in schools and educational facilities. Schools and other units in the framework of the education system are obliged to implement a school prevention programme for children’s and young people’s problems that is coherent with a school socialising programme. Health education is part of the core curricula defined by the Regulation of the Ministry of National Education adopted in 2012. Educational settings are also encouraged to adopt health-promoting school principles in order to strengthen students’ normative beliefs and psychosocial skills as protective factors against drug use. The Centre for Education Development is coordinating the National Network of Health Promoting Schools, which had 47 members by the end of 2014. The NBDP in cooperation with the Ministry of National Education have developed a number of activities and short interventions to inform parents, teachers and students about the risks of using new psychoactive substances. In 2014 the NBDP continued the implementation of Unplugged, an internationally renowned prevention programme. A number of training seminars for teachers have been implemented in recent years, and in 2014 a total of 352 schools had implemented the programme. The evaluation of Unplugged in Poland indicates the programme’s positive impact on the reduction of cannabis use and on the risk of alcohol consumption, and it has also reduced positive believes and attitudes regarding addictive substances, and increased knowledge and competence among parents. In addition, teachers found the training seminars highly useful. Despite this, the main implementation challenges were the limited time available within the school timetable to complete the whole syllabus, and low participation among parents.

In 2013–14 a project to prevent psychoactive substance use in workplaces was implemented in more than 200 companies. The project was supported by the Swiss Contribution Programme.

Family-oriented universal prevention programmes focus on developing parenting, interpersonal and personal skills. For example, the evaluation of the Polish version of the Family Strengthening Programme indicated that the programme had some positive influence on family functioning and motivated parents to change their behaviour. The programme School for Parents and Educators, which aims to improving parenting, is widely implemented nationwide, and by the end of 2012 approximately 5 000 people had taken part. An increasing number of internet resources on drugs are available in Polish, for example an online drug counselling service is available with the support of the NBDP. Two new programmes for parents and teachers, Home Detectives and Fantastic Opportunities, were launched in 2014. The objective of these programmes is to delay alcohol initiation among adolescents.

Selective and indicated prevention activities are targeted at recreational settings, at-risk groups (such as minors living on the street, delinquent youth and occasional drug users) and at-risk families. Most of these programmes are implemented in urban areas, and only few of selective and indicative prevention activities are conducted in rural communities. The programmes centre around community action in a number of areas: education on drug-related risk; motivation to change attitudes and behaviour; strengthening the family’s role in drug prevention and treatment; increasing parenting skills; direct user-oriented interventions; providing information on drug outreach centres; distributing information materials; and the promotion of a healthy lifestyle. Under programmes targeting occasional drug users, the FreD goes net early intervention programme was continued. It targets young people who have come to official attention for the first time in relation to the possession/use of drugs. By the end of 2014 there were 86 facilities in different regions of Poland that were prepared to implement the programme. In addition, a programme targeting at-risk adolescents in schools was launched in 2014.

In 2013–14 a nationwide campaign to raise awareness about the non-medical use of prescription medications among adolescents, called ‘Taking medication or high on drugs? Prescription drugs are for treatment, not for getting high’, was implemented by the NBDP.

To improve the quality of drug prevention in Poland, recommendations for prevention and health promotion programmes and the Polish language version of the European Drug Prevention Quality Standards are promoted and widely distributed by the NBDP. The interdisciplinary team assessed a number of projects following the drug prevention quality standard framework, and by the end of 2014 the Polish database of recommended programmes listed 14 programmes.

See the Prevention profile for Poland for more information. 

Problem drug use

Content for problem drug use: 

Up to 2012 the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) defined problem drug use as injecting drug use or long duration/regular use of opiates, cocaine and/or amphetamines. However, in 2012 a new definition of ‘high-risk drug use’ was adopted. The new definition includes ‘problem drug use’, but is broader (mainly in its inclusion of high-risk use of more substances). Details are available here.

The most recent estimates of the number high-risk opioid users were calculated in Poland based on 2009 treatment data, and using the treatment multiplier method within the framework of a 2010 country-wide population survey. It was estimated that there were 15 119 high-risk opioid users (range: 10 444–19 794), which corresponds to a rate of 0.56 per 1 000 inhabitants aged 15–64 (range: 0.38–0.73).

The same study has also estimated that there were 79 500 high-risk drug users in Poland (range: 56 000–103 000), or 2.93 per 1 000 inhabitants aged 15–64 (range: 2.1–3.8). This is a decline in comparison to a previous calculation in 2005 that estimated 100 000–125 000 problem drug users.

Based on general population survey data from 2014 it has been estimated that 0.2 % of 15- to 64-year-olds used cannabis daily or almost daily. The same study, based on the Severity of Dependence Scale and the Problem Cannabis Use screening test, both included in the questionnaire, indicates a prevalence of high-risk cannabis use ranging from 0.2 % to 0.3 % among 15- to 64-year-olds, and estimates that the number of high-risk cannabis users in Poland is between 54 000 and 108 000.

Look for High-risk drug use in the Statistical bulletin for more information. 

Treatment demand

Content for treatment demand: 

Information on the number of individuals admitted to drug treatment in Poland has been collected since 2008 by the National Bureau for Drug Prevention (which is also the national focal point) through a centralised system of electronic or paper-based data reporting from the treatment centres. The national focal point collects data on clients in treatment in the framework of the treatment demand indicator (TDI), which was a pilot project until the end of 2013. Following an Act of Law and Ordinance of the Minister of Health, since January 2014 the collection of TDI data by treatment facilities has been obligatory. Another relevant source of data on drug patients is the Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology (IPN), which has been collecting data for many years from residential treatment facilities (mainly psychiatric hospitals) on people with drug related problems. However, the data collected by the IPN are only partially in line with EMCDDA guidelines.

In 2014 data were submitted by 65 outpatient and 71 inpatient treatment units on 7 186 clients admitted to treatment, of whom 3 456 were new clients entering treatment for the first time. Data from the IPN for 2013 showed that 16 592 clients were admitted to inpatient treatment.

According to the TDI data collected in 2014 some 37 % of all treatment clients reported stimulants other than cocaine (mainly amphetamines), followed by cannabis at 35 % and opioids at 15 % (more than half using the substance by injecting). A slightly different pattern is observed among new treatment clients — 45 % were admitted to treatment for cannabis use, 36 % for stimulants and 5 % for opioids. Among new treatment clients slightly more than a third of opioid users injected the substance.

Data on age were available for about 30 % of clients entering treatment in 2014. The mean age among all treatment clients was 26, while new treatment clients were slightly younger with an average age of 24.With regard to gender, 82 % of all and new treatment clients were male.

Caution must be exercised when interpreting data as the national monitoring system has evolved in recent years in terms of coverage and also data collection tool.

Look for Treatment demand indicator in the Statistical bulletin for more information. 

Drug-related infectious diseases

Content for drug-related infectious diseases: 

In Poland, data regarding human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection is collected by the National Institute of Public Health–National Institute of Hygiene (NIPH-NIH). The Institute analyses data reported by Provincial Sanitary and Epidemiological Stations (Sanepid) for the whole country.

Up to the end of 2014 a total of 18 757 HIV infections had been notified by the NIPH-NIH, and a third of these were among people who inject drugs (PWID). The number of newly reported cases of HIV infections among PWID indicated a downward trend, which has levelled off in the most recent years (127 cases in 2006; 91 in 2007; 52 in 2008; 56 in 2009; 41 in 2010; 65 in 2011; 42 in 2012, 39 in 2013 and 37 in 2014). However, there is a risk that the number of cases has been underestimated, as the transmission route for a large percentage of cases is not reported. The estimated prevalence of HIV among 505 PWID tested in 2014 was 3.0 %. This information is collected by the NIPH-NIH from the laboratories providing diagnostic testing, but it has to be noted that the number of diagnostic tests attributed to PWID in recent years has decreased when compared to the number of tests administered in 2007–09. The Institute also collects data on hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections. Regarding acute HBV infection, one of 68 notified cases in 2014 was a PWID. Regarding HCV infection, about 158 of 2 173 chronic HCV infection cases with a known transmission route in 2012 listed injecting drug use as a possible transmission route, while one of 41 acute HCV cases was linked with injecting drug use.

In a HBV and HCV seroprevalence study conducted among 184 PWID at two sites in 2009, HCV prevalence ranged between 44.3–72.4 %, while for HBV it was between 26.3–56.7 %.

Look for Drug-related infectious diseases in the Statistical bulletin for more information. 

Drug-induced deaths and mortality

Content for drug-induced deaths: 

The basic source of information concerning drug-related deaths in Poland is data from the Central Statistical Office (GUS), which is collected based on ICD-10.

Data from the General Mortality Register indicates that the number of drug-induced deaths seems to be relatively stable. In 2013 the total number of drug-induced deaths was 247, which is slightly more than in 2012 (227 cases), and it is possible that a downward trend observed since 2002, when the highest number (324) of drug-induced deaths was reported, might have come to an end. In 2014, as in other years, the overwhelming majority of victims were male. The mean age of the deceased was 39.3 years.

The drug-induced mortality rate among adults (aged 15–64) was 8.5 deaths per million, lower than the latest European average of 19.2 deaths per million.

Look for Drug-related deaths in the Statistical bulletin for more information. 

Treatment responses

Content for treatment responses: 

Poland is the central and eastern European country with the longest tradition of therapeutic communities aimed at rehabilitation and prolonged abstinence. The first centre was established in 1978. The role of these communities has superseded the overriding role given to psychiatric institutions in other central and eastern European countries. However, today’s system of specialised drug services is integrated into mental health care. A number of legal acts govern addiction treatment in Poland. The National Bureau for Drug Prevention is overseeing activities related to quality of treatment, while the National Health Fund (NHF) is responsible for financing and provision of medical care standards. The implementation of drug treatment is the responsibility of communities and provinces, where it is delivered by a range of providers that have signed contracts with the NHF. Treatment activities, which are not covered by the NHF, might be funded through other resources on a competitive basis. There is also an option to receive treatment at private clinics or from private practitioners, but for an additional fee paid by a client/patient.

Drug treatment services are provided through a network of inpatient and outpatient treatment centres, detoxification wards, day-care centres, drug treatment wards in hospitals, mid-term and long-term drug rehabilitation facilities and drug wards in prisons, and post-rehabilitation programmes. In territories where there is no specialised drug treatment service, help can be obtained from mental health counselling or alcohol rehabilitation clinics. In 2013 new standards for accreditation of residential treatment programmes were approved by the Ministry of Health, and work is underway to develop specific guidelines on accreditation audits.

In line with the public health perspective of drug treatment, the treatment system in Poland has two approaches: ‘drug-free’ treatment (psycho-social models) and pharmacological treatment (i.e. opioid substitution treatment). Of these two, the ‘drug-free’ model prevails and includes therapeutic communities, cognitive behavioural psychotherapy, 12-step programmes, case management and self-help groups. Treatment is provided in two modes: outpatient and residential. Outpatient interventions for users of illicit psychoactive substances are provided through more than 200 addiction counselling centres, day-care centres and consulting points located in large cities. Inpatient treatment, available through around 100 units, is dominated by mid-term and long-term residential treatment that usually lasts no more than one year. Detoxification, which is not a treatment in itself but is the first step to treatment, is provided in detoxification wards and usually lasts for 8–14 days. Outpatient and inpatient drug treatment is mainly delivered by non-governmental organizations (NGOs), followed by public services and private providers. Detoxification is mainly provided by public services, and by private clinics and physicians. Polish post-rehabilitation programmes are also implemented, mainly by NGOs. These are subsidised from the state budgets (up to 18 months of therapy) and with resources from local authorities. In recent years, taking into account the changing profile of the treatment clients, a new treatment programme, CANDIS, aimed at cannabis users has been promoted in Poland.

Opioid substitution treatment (OST) is available in Poland, and the first methadone maintenance programme was introduced in 1993. Since 2005 such treatment has only been carried out by public healthcare units that have been granted permission by the governor of the region in collaboration with the Ministry of Health. According to the 2005 drug law, NGOs can also establish and carry out OST, and the first programmes provided by private health centres and facilities were established in 2007. In 2014 some 25 non-prison OST programmes provided services to about 2 586 clients, the majority of whom received methadone as the substituting substance, while buprenorphine-based medications are also available. In addition, 140 clients received OST within seven programmes in 23 prison units. In general, the coverage of problem opioid users receiving OST in Poland remains sub-optimal according to international recommendations.

See the Treatment profile for Poland for additional information. 

Harm reduction responses

Content for harm reduction responses: 

Harm reduction activities have been carried out in Poland since 1989 and consist predominantly of needle and syringe programmes, prevention-related educational programmes (including programmes for recreational users), and opioid substitution treatment. Polish decision-makers generally support the idea of harm reduction, which is also reflected in the Drug Act and in the National Programme for Counteracting Drug Addiction 2011–16 (NPCDA). Programmes are mainly operated by NGOs and based in big cities; they include outreach work at places frequented by drug users and sex workers, homeless shelters, and specialised agencies providing clean injecting equipment, including one mobile service.

In 2014 a total of 24 needle and syringe programmes at fixed sites and 10 sites with outreach work operated in 12 Polish cities. The National Bureau for Drug Prevention co-financed 12 projects in the field targeting high-risk drug users, while local governments also made important contributions to the funding of 18 harm reduction programmes. In 2014 around 106 000 syringes were distributed to more than 1 465 injecting drug users attending these specialised programmes. However, in recent years the number of operational needle and syringe programmes, the number of syringes given out and the number of clients using these programmes has continuously declined. This is attributed to a lack of funding; a change in the priorities of harm reduction programmes towards recreational drug users; some difficulty in retaining staff in needle and syringe programmes; and a possible decline in the number of injecting drug users in Poland.

The National Health Fund intends to systematically increase the availability and reach of programmes aimed at reducing and treating infectious diseases in the next few years, in particular by contracting antiretroviral treatment services, and providing vaccination against HBV and counselling and testing for HCV and HIV.

See the Harm reduction overview for Poland for additional information. 

Drug markets and drug-law offences

Content for Drug markets and drug-law offences: 

The Police Headquarters in Warsaw and the Provincial Police Headquarters report data on drug-law offences. Since 2000, following a change in the drug law in 2000, the number of drug-law offences has been increasing steadily. In 2006 the number of reported drug-law offences peaked at 70 202, then fell in the two following years to 57 382 offences in 2008. From 2009 the number increased again, and in 2012 the highest number of drug-law offences was registered (76 239 offences). In 2014 the police changed the type of data reported, from ‘an offence’ to ‘a suspected offence’. Ex officio or following a crime notification, the police take a decision to launch an investigation if there is a reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed. That is why the new data being reported are not compatible with the previously reported data on drug-law offences. In 2014 the police reported that an investigation for a suspected drug offence was launched for 28 398 persons. The majority of these investigations were offences related to use/purchase/possession for personal use. Data by type of drug is not available.

Poland is both a transit country for drug trafficking from east to west and the producer of synthetic drugs for western European markets. Amphetamines and also recently methamphetamine are illegally produced in Poland and smuggled to Germany, France, Sweden and other Scandinavian countries, the United Kingdom and Ireland, and are also used in Poland. Heroin from Afghanistan, destined for Germany and the United Kingdom, reaches Poland through both the Balkan and the Silk routes, although the Polish home-made type of heroin, called ‘kompot’ is also used in the national market. Cocaine is smuggled through Netherlands, Germany, France and Belgium and via Turkey and Greece. Cannabis is trafficked primarily from the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and the Czech Republic on to other eastern European markets and Russia; however, it is also increasingly produced domestically by organised crime syndicates of Asian origin.

Record quantities of amphetamines were seized in Poland in 2014. A total of 782.867 kg of amphetamine was seized, which is the largest amount seized since 2001. In addition, 41.015 kg of methamphetamine was seized, which is a fourfold increase from 2013. In total, 19 laboratories producing amphetamines and other drugs (mephedrone, GHB) were dismantled in 2013 and 17 in 2014.

Nevertheless, cannabis products were still involved in the vast majority of seizures. In 2014 police operations seized a record amount of 95 214 cannabis plants. An upward trend in the quantity of herbal cannabis seized between 2003 and 2013 ended in 2014 when the amount seized fell to 270.362 kg, which is comparable with the quantities seized prior to 2006. In 2013 a record amount of cannabis resin of 208.39 kg was seized, but in 2014 the seized amount halved to (98.639 kg).

 In 2014 a record 272.71 kg of heroin was seized in Poland. Most of this came from two seizures on the Polish–Ukrainian border.

The number of ecstasy tablets seized in 2012–14 was 31 000–62 028, which is far fewer than in 2007–08 (610 000–651 000 tablets). The largest quantity of cocaine seized was recorded in 2003 at 801 kg, while thereafter the quantity of cocaine seized has fluctuated between the lowest figure of 17 kg in 2005 and the highest figure of 213 kg in 2012. In 2014 a total of 31.461 kg of cocaine was seized, slightly more than reported in 2013 (20.559 kg).

New psychoactive substances have become firmly established in the Polish drug scene. In 2013 more than 28 000 products were temporarily seized.

Look for Drug-law offences in the Statistical bulletin for additional data. 

National drug laws

Content for National drug laws: 

Drug addiction in Poland is regulated by the Act on Counteracting Drug Addiction of 29 July 2005. The Act generally has a preventive and treatment-oriented character and the stipulated sanctions should not be used against problem drug users. Any drug possession is penalised, even a small amount for personal use, with up to three years’ imprisonment. In minor cases the offender can be fined or ordered to serve a sentence involving limitation of liberty or deprivation of liberty for up to one year. Article 62a, which came into force in 2011, gives the prosecutor and the judge an option to discontinue the criminal procedure towards individuals caught in possession of small amounts of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances for private use.

The court may, however, also decide to oblige a sentenced drug user to undergo treatment. The Polish drug law implements the ‘treat rather than punish’ principle. Article 72 allows proceedings to be suspended while an offender is in treatment, and Article 73a allows for breaks in serving the sentence while an individual is in treatment.

Trafficking of drugs is penalised by a fine and imprisonment of between six months and eight years, depending on the gravity of the offence and whether the objective was to receive benefit. In the case of a minor offence, the perpetrator may be fined, subjected to limitation of liberty, or imprisoned for a maximum of one year. In cases where the amount of drugs is substantial, the perpetrator may be imprisoned for up to 12 years.

In 2010 Poland passed an innovative law to penalise the supply of any unauthorised psychoactive substance, as enforced by the State Sanitary Inspectorate. This was revised in 2015 to introduce a list in a Regulation of the Ministry of Health of those substances declared to be psychoactive.

Go to the European Legal Database on Drugs (ELDD) for additional information. 

National drug strategy

Content for National drug strategy: 

Adopted on 29 July 2005, the Act on Counteracting Drug Addiction is a key legal text in the drugs field in Poland. It sets out, inter alia, the priorities to be addressed in the National Anti-Drug Strategy and Action Plan. On 22 March 2011 the fourth National Programme for Counteracting Drug Addiction (2011–16) was adopted. Since 2006 the National Programmes have had the status of a legal regulation. Primarily concerned with illicit drugs, the Programme’s general aim is to reduce drug use and drug-related social and health problems. This is achieved through 113 actions assigned to 10 ministries, 24 institutions, provincial pharmaceutical and sanitary inspectorates, provincial and communal governments across the five pillars the Programme is constructed around: (i) prevention; (ii) treatment, rehabilitation, harm reduction and social reintegration; (iii) supply reduction; (iv) international cooperation; and (v) research and monitoring. The transversal nature of the last two pillars is designed to support the implementation of actions in the first three domains. Designed to integrate the majority of anti-drug activities in Poland, the Programme’s implementation is coordinated by the Council for Counteracting Drug Addiction.

Alongside defined timeframes for actions, the Programme establishes aims that should be reflected in anti-drug programmes at the provincial and communal levels, in line with the 2005 Act on Counteracting Drug Addiction. For the years 2011–16 a greater emphasis has been placed on improving the quality of drug prevention programmes and the quality of life of those undergoing treatment, harm reduction and social reintegration measures. The Programme also takes account of changes in the drugs market and addresses domestic cannabis cultivation, the online sale of new psychoactive substances and the illicit trade in chemical precursors.

The National Bureau for Drug Prevention is responsible for evaluating the Programme and mid-term and final evaluations were scheduled for 2014 and 2016 respectively. Alongside its data collection activities on drug demand and supply reduction issues, the National Bureau for Drug Prevention monitors annual implementation of the Action Plan’s measures that the relevant ministries, institutions, provinces and communes are required to comply with. Analysis of the Programme’s implementation is presented annually to the Minister of Health, the Council of Ministers and the Parliament.

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Coordination mechanism in the field of drugs

Content for Coordination mechanism in the field of drugs: 

Established in 2001, the Council for Counteracting Drug Addiction is a coordination and advisory body in the drugs field. It is tasked with monitoring and coordinating government action against drugs, advising the Minister of Health on issues related to the National Programme for Counteracting Drug Addiction (2011–16), monitoring the Programme’s implementation and cooperating with the bodies undertaking its actions. The Council is comprised of undersecretaries of state from the Ministries of Health, Interior, Justice, Social Care, National Defence, Agriculture, Education, Public Finances, Foreign Affairs and Science. In order to implement the Programme, the Council uses four teams to addresses issues in the areas of precursors, international cooperation, programme implementation and new psychoactive substances.

The National Bureau for Drug Prevention is a state budget unit subordinated to the Ministry of Health. It is responsible for coordinating the implementation of the National Programme for Counteracting Drug Addiction and the preparation of an annual report on the state of its implementation. Its activities also include setting priorities in the field of drug prevention. The secretariat of the Council for Counteracting Drug Addiction is located in the Bureau. Attached to the Bureau, the Council for Scientific Research is an advisory body that conducts research and helps to define priorities and needs related to addictions.

Provincial drug coordinators are responsible for the coordination of regional drug policy and the implementation of regional strategies that are legally required to be in line with the Programme and Action Plan. Provincial experts on drugs and drug addiction collect and exchange information, data and documentation concerning the drug problem. The provincial drug coordinators and experts are often the same person. Every year, provincial experts prepare reports on the drug situation, summaries of which are available on the national focal point website.

Public expenditure

Content for Public expenditure: 

In Poland, a survey on drug-related public expenditure began in 2012. This was designed, among other things, to estimate the funding of all NGOs dealing with demand reduction in Poland, and to compare the information with identical exercises carried out in the years that follow.

Additionally, in 2013, in the course of monitoring the implementation of the National Anti-Drug Strategy, communal governments were asked to report spending on drug reduction initiatives under local drugs strategies. Based on these data collection exercises, an incomplete estimate points to drug-related expenditure of EUR 25 805 008 in 2014, which represents 0.01 % of gross domestic product (GDP).

The available information does not allow the proportion that this funding represents of overall demand reduction initiatives nor the trends in drug-related public expenditures in Poland to be reported. However, qualitative information seems to suggest that the total funds allocated to drug initiatives might have diminished, compared to 2013.

Drug-related research

Content for Drug-related research: 

Research and monitoring constitutes one of the five main areas of activity presented in the current National Programme for Counteracting Drug Addiction, with the primary objective of providing information to support the Programme’s implementation. Coordination of the implementation of the Programme in the area of research and monitoring is carried out by the national focal point in the National Bureau for Drug Prevention (NBDP). The NBDP remains the main body commissioning and financing the implementation of research in the field of drugs and drug addiction, although Poland’s global Scientific Research Committee also represents a funding source for drug-related research. Numerous research projects are conducted on the basis of grants awarded by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education and by international programmes. Scientific activity in the field of drugs and drug addiction in the scope of statutory activities is also conducted by the Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology. The NBDP also supports research into drugs and drug addiction via an annual open research competition aimed at ‘better understanding the drug phenomenon’, as stated in the National Anti-Drug Strategy, when interested bodies are invited to submit their research projects. In 2014 the award was made to the Polish Association of Drug Prevention for their project ‘Substitution treatment: with or without therapy…?’, and in 2015 the selected project was ‘Injecting drug users – problem and needs assessment in three Polish cities: Warsaw, Krakow, Wroclaw’ by the Harm Reduction Foundation, Warsaw.

Scientific activity in the field of drugs and drug addiction in the scope of statutory activities is conducted by the Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology, and research projects are also carried out by the national focal point, the National Institute of Public Health–National Institute of Hygiene, universities and research agencies functioning on the Polish market. Research findings are disseminated through scientific journals, websites and national focal point activities (including the publication of a newsletter, a dedicated website and participation in conferences). Recent drug-related studies have focused on aspects related to prevalence, incidence and patterns of drug use, responses to the drug situation and supply and markets, and research on the consequences of drug use.

See Drug-related research for more detailed information. 

Data sheet — key statistics on the drug situation

Content for Data sheet: 

        EU range      
  Year   Country data Min. Max.      
Problem opioid use (rate/1 000) 2009   0.6 0.2 10.7      
All clients entering treatment (%) 2014   14.8% 4% 90%      
New clients entering treatment (%) 2014   4.7% 2% 89%      
Purity — heroin brown (%) :   : 7% 52%      
Price per gram — heroin brown (EUR) 2014 1 EUR 39.90 - EUR 53.60  EUR 23 EUR 140      
Prevalence of drug use — schools (%) 2011   3.0% 1% 5%      
Prevalence of drug use — young adults (%) 2014   0.4% 0% 4%      
Prevalence of drug use — all adults (%) 2014   0.2% 0% 2%      
All clients entering treatment (%) 2014   1.4% 0% 38%      
New clients entering treatment (%) 2014   1.3% 0% 40%      
Purity (%) 2008   43.8% 20% 64%      
Price per gram (EUR) 2014 1 EUR 46.10 - EUR 46.40 EUR 47 EUR 107      
Prevalence of drug use — schools (%) 2011   4.0% 1% 7%      
Prevalence of drug use — young adults (%) 2014   0.4% 0% 3%      
Prevalence of drug use — all adults (%) 2014   0.2% 0% 1%      
All clients entering treatment (%) 2014   28.1% 0% 70%      
New clients entering treatment (%) 2014   27.7% 0% 75%      
Purity (%) 2014   12.0% 1% 49%      
Price per gram (EUR) 2014 1 EUR 8.90 - EUR 9.50 EUR 3 EUR 63      
Prevalence of drug use — schools (%) 2011   2.0% 1% 4%      
Prevalence of drug use — young adults (%) 2014   0.9% 0% 6%      
Prevalence of drug use — all adults (%) 2014   0.4% 0% 2%      
All clients entering treatment (%) 2014   0.2% 0% 2%      
New clients entering treatment (%) 2014   0.1% 0% 2%      
Purity (mg of MDMA base per unit) 2006   27 mg 27 mg 131 mg      
Price per tablet (EUR) 2014 1 EUR 3.30 - EUR 4.20 EUR 4 EUR 16      
Prevalence of drug use — schools (%) 2011   23.0% 5% 42%      
Prevalence of drug use — young adults (%) 2014   9.8% 0% 24%      
Prevalence of drug use — all adults (%) 2014   4.6% 0% 11%      
All clients entering treatment (%) 2014   34.6% 3% 63%      
New clients entering treatment (%) 2014   44.6% 7% 77%      
Potency — herbal (%) 2014   11.0% 3% 15%      
Potency — resin (%) :   : 3% 29%      
Price per gram — herbal (EUR) 2014 1 EUR 7.70 - EUR 9.50 EUR 3 EUR 23      
Price per gram — resin (EUR) 2014 1 EUR 8.50 - EUR 11.90 EUR 3 EUR 22      
Prevalence of problem drug use                
Problem drug use (rate/1 000) 2009   2.9 2.7 10.0      
Injecting drug use (rate/1 000) :   : 0.2 9.2      
Drug-related infectious diseases/deaths                
HIV infections newly diagnosed (cases / million) 2014   1.0 0.0 50.9      
HIV prevalence (%) 2014   3.0% 0% 31%      
HCV prevalence (%) :   : 15% 84%      
Drug-related deaths (rate/million) 2014   8.5 2.4 113.2      
Health and social responses                
Syringes distributed 2014   105 890 382 7 199 660      
Clients in substitution treatment 2014   2 586 178 161 388      
Treatment demand                
All clients 2014   7 186 271 100 456      
New clients 2014   3 456 28 35 007      
All clients with known primary drug 2014   7 186 271 97 068      
New clients with known primary drug 2014   3 456 28 34 088      
Drug law offences                
Number of reports of offences 2014   29 060 537 282 177      
Offences for use/possession 2014   25 274 13 398 422      

Key national figures and statistics

Content for Key national figures and statistics: 

b Break in time series.

e Estimated.

p Eurostat provisional value.

: Not available.

1 Gross domestic product (GDP) is a measure of economic activity. It is defined as the value of all goods and services produced less the value of any goods or services used in their creation. The volume index of GDP per capita in Purchasing Power Standards (PPS) is expressed in relation to the European Union (EU-27) average set to equal 100. If the index of a country is higher than 100, this country's level of GDP per head is higher than the EU average and vice versa.

2  Expenditure on social protection contains: benefits, which consist of transfers in cash or in kind to households and individuals to relieve them of the burden of a defined set of risks or needs.

3 Unemployment rates represent unemployed persons as a percentage of the labour force. Unemployed persons comprise persons aged 15 to 74 who were: (a) without work during the reference week; (b) currently available for work; (c) actively seeking work.

4 Situation of penal institutions on 1 September, 2014.

5 Share of persons aged 0+ with an equivalent disposable income below the at-risk-of-poverty threshold, which is set at 60 % of the national median equivalised disposable income (after social transfers).

  Year   EU (28 countries) Source
Population  2014 38 017 856 506 944 075 bep Eurostat
Population by age classes 15–24  2014 12.4 %  11.3 % bep Eurostat
25–49 36.4 %  34.7 % bep
50–64 21.3 % 19.9 % bep
GDP per capita in PPS (Purchasing Power Standards) 1  2014 68 100 Eurostat
Total expenditure on social protection (% of GDP) 2  2012 17.7 % p 28.6 % p Eurostat
Unemployment rate 3  2015 7.5 % 9.4 % Eurostat
Unemployment rate of population aged under 25 years  2015 20.8 % 20.3 % Eurostat
Prison population rate (per 100 000 of national population) 4  2014 203.5  : Council of Europe, SPACE I-201.4.1
At risk of poverty rate 5  2014 17.0 % 17.2 %  SILC

Contact information for our focal point

Address and contact: 

National Bureau for Drug Prevention, Ministry of Health

Dereniowa 52/54
PL - 02 776 Warsaw
Tel. +48 226411501
Fax +48 226411565

Head of national focal point: Mr Artur Malczewski

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