Poland Country Drug Report 2019

Drug use and responses in prison

Data on drug use among prisoners are available from the 2007 prison survey and from a 2014 pilot data collection using the European Questionnaire on Drug Use among Prisoners. These data show that a large proportion of prisoners in Poland had used drugs before imprisonment, mainly cannabis, amphetamines and, to lesser extent, opioids. Based on the pilot data collection, half of the prisoners included in the survey had used new psychoactive substances (NSP) before imprisonment. Drug use inside prison was also reported, although to a lesser extent.

Polydrug use, including use of opioids, cannabis, alcohol, amphetamines and other substances, is the main reason for entering drug treatment in Polish prisons. Recent evidence suggests that NSP use in prison settings is emerging in Poland. The National Health Programme 2016-20, several regulations by the Ministry of Justice since 2003 and the ordinance from the prison directorate establish the framework for implementing drug interventions in prison in Poland.

Drug interventions in prison in Poland are based on programmes approved by the General Director of the Prison Service. These programmes include 6-month residential therapeutic programmes conducted in special wards, with interventions ranging from psychotherapy to rehabilitation (available in only some prisons); short-term interventions for individuals at different stages of substance addiction, available in all prisons; self-help groups; and opioid substitution treatment (OST). In 2017, 159 inmates received OST in prison.

Harm reduction interventions are implemented by non-governmental organisations and include activities such as educational programmes for drug users, individual consultations, motivation for behavioural change, safe injection training, support groups and group sessions for inmates who have not been admitted to prison treatment wards. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive inmates in need of treatment are provided with antiretroviral treatment.


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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.