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Harm reduction overview for Poland

Map of Poland

1. National context

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 2013, a total of 13 needle and syringe programmes were operating in 10 cities. The National Bureau co-financed 14 projects in the field, targeting high-risk drug users; local governments also made important contributions to the funding of 34 harm reduction programmes. In 2013 more than 124 000 syringes were distributed to more than 1 600 injecting drug users attending these specialised programmes. However, by 2013 the number of operational syringe and needle exchange programmes in Poland had declined, compared with 2002. This is attributed to a lack of financing; a change in the priorities for harm reduction to target recreational 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.

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2. Responses to prevent and reduce drug-related infectious diseases

Needle and syringe programmes Country  data
Availability of  NSP programmes  Extensive
% NSP availability at NUTS3  14 %
Drug use equipment distributed at specialised drug agencies (standard prevention material)
availability of alcohol pads Yes
availability of dry wipes Yes
availability of containers No
availability of water Yes
availability of condoms Yes
availability of foil No

Sources:

Structured questionnaire 'Prevention and reduction of health-related harm associated with drug use' (SQ23/29), submitted in 2014.
For an explanation of terms used, see the definitions of terms.
Availability expert rating scale:

  • Full – nearly all persons in need would obtain it.
  • Extensive – a majority but not nearly all of them would obtain it.
  • Limited – more than a few but not a majority of them would obtain it.
  • Rare – just a few of them would obtain it.
Testing, vaccination and treatment of infections Country  data
Availability of Hepatitis C testing in the community  :
Availability of universal hepatitis B immunization programme  Yes
Hepatitis B vaccination programme specific for high risk groups  No
ARV treatment of HIV infection  :

Sources:

Structured questionnaire 'Prevention and reduction of health-related harm associated with drug use' (SQ23/29), submitted in 2014.
Availability expert rating scale:

  • Full – nearly all persons in need would obtain it.
  • Extensive – a majority but not nearly all of them would obtain it.
  • Limited – more than a few but not a majority of them would obtain it.
  • Rare – just a few of them would obtain it.
Health promotion responses Country  data
Availability of individual counselling programmes  :
Availability of programmes for practical advice and training on 'safer use/safer injecting'  Extensive
Involvement of peer educators in the response to infectious diseases prevention  Yes

Sources:

Structured questionnaire 'Prevention and reduction of health-related harm associated with drug use' (SQ23/29), submitted in 2014.
Availability expert rating scale:

  • Full – nearly all persons in need would obtain it.
  • Extensive – a majority but not nearly all of them would obtain it.
  • Limited – more than a few but not a majority of them would obtain it.
  • Rare – just a few of them would obtain it.

Drug Treatment

See the country specific treatment profile.

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3. Responses to prevent and reduce drug-related deaths

Availability of drug-related death responses in the community Country  data
Availability of overdose information materials  Limited
Availability of individual overdose risk assessment (provided by trained drugs or health workers)  Extensive
Availability of overdose response training  Limited

Sources:

Structured questionnaire 'Prevention and reduction of health-related harm associated with drug use' (SQ23/29), submitted in 2014.
Availability expert rating scale:

  • Full – nearly all persons in need would obtain it.
  • Extensive – a majority but not nearly all of them would obtain it.
  • Limited – more than a few but not a majority of them would obtain it.
  • Rare – just a few of them would obtain it.
Availability of drug consumption rooms Country  data
Number of facilities n.av.
Number of cities n.av.
Number of consumptions per year n.av.

Sources:

Structured questionnaire 'Prevention and reduction of health-related harm associated with drug use' (SQ23/29), submitted in 2011.
N.Av. stands for ‘The intervention is not available in the country’.

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4. Responses to prevent and reduce drug-related harms in recreational settings

Provision of specific responses implemented in night clubs and festivals Free, accessible, cold water Immediate First Aid ‘Chill out’ rooms Information material Outreach work Amnesty bins
Night clubs  Limited  Limited  Extensive  Limited  Limited  Does not exist
Festivals  Limited  Extensive  Limited  Limited  Limited  Does not exist

Sources:

Structured questionnaire 'Prevention and reduction of health-related harm associated with drug use' (SQ23/29), submitted in 2011.
Provision expert rating scale:

  • Full – in nearly all night clubs/festivals.
  • Extensive – a majority of night clubs/festivals provide the intervention (but not nearly all of them).
  • Limited – more than a few night clubs/festivals provide the intervention (but not a majority of them).
  • Rare – just a few night clubs/festivals provide the intervention.

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5. References and links

Related EMCDDA resources

 

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The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) is the reference point on drugs and drug addiction information in Europe. Inaugurated in Lisbon in 1995, it is one of the EU's decentralised agencies. Read more >>

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Page last updated: Wednesday, 03 June 2015