Poland Country Drug Report 2019

Drug laws and drug law offences

National drug laws

Drug possession and supply in Poland is regulated by the Act on Counteracting Drug Addiction of 29 July 2005. Any drug possession, even possession of a small amount for personal use, is penalised with up to 3 years’ imprisonment. In minor cases, the offender can be fined or ordered to serve a sentence involving the limitation of liberty or deprivation of liberty for up to 1 year. Since 2011, Article 62(a) gives the prosecutor and the judge the option to discontinue criminal procedures if individuals are caught in possession of small amounts of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances for private use.

However, the court may decide to compel a sentenced drug user to undergo treatment, in accordance with the principle of ‘treat rather than punish’. Article 72 allows proceedings to be suspended while an offender is in treatment, and Article 73(a) allows for breaks in a sentence while an individual is in treatment.

Trafficking of drugs is penalised with between 6 months’ and 12 years’ imprisonment and a fine, depending on the gravity of the offence, the amount of drugs and whether or not the objective was to make a profit. In the case of a minor offence, the perpetrator may be fined, subject to the limitation of liberty, or imprisoned for a maximum of 1 year. If the amount of drugs is substantial, the perpetrator may be imprisoned for up to 12 years.

In 2010, Poland passed a law to penalise the supply of any unauthorised psychoactive substance, enforced by the State Sanitary Inspectorate. This was revised in 2015 to include a list of those substances declared to be psychoactive in a Ministry of Health regulation. In 2018, this was merged with the Act on Counteracting Drug Addiction to ensure that offences involving new psychoactive substances were criminal. Penalties for supply offences are now equal to those for narcotic and psychoactive drugs.

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Drug law offences

Drug law offence (DLO) data are the foundation for monitoring drug-related crime and are also a measure of law enforcement activity and drug market dynamics; they may be used to inform policies on the implementation of drug laws and to improve strategies.

The majority of DLOs reported in Poland in 2017 were related to possession. A noteworthy increase in the number of DLOs was recorded between 2014 and 2017.

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Methodological note: Analysis of trends is based only on those countries providing sufficient data to describe changes over the period specified. The reader should also be aware that monitoring patterns and trends in a hidden and stigmatised behaviour like drug use is both practically and methodologically challenging. For this reason, multiple sources of data are used for the purposes of analysis in this report. Caution is therefore required in interpretation, in particular when countries are compared on any single measure. Detailed information on methodology and caveats and comments on the limitations in the information set available can be found in the EMCDDA Statistical Bulletin.