Poland Country Drug Report 2019

Harm reduction

The National Drugs Strategy 2016-20, as a part of National Health Programme 2016-20, emphasises the need for (i) improved access to risk reduction programmes targeting occasional drug users, (ii) harm reduction programmes targeting drug-dependent clients unmotivated to change their behaviour and (iii) infectious disease treatment programmes. While drug treatment is funded by the national health system, needle and syringe programmes (NSPs) are co-financed by local governments and the National Bureau for Drug Prevention (KBPN). Financial resources made available under the National Health Strategy and the KBPN are allocated following annual competitions targeted mainly at non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Furthermore, local governments fund additional services, such as night shelters, hostels and day-care centres, that are provided within their territories.

Harm reduction interventions

Needle and syringe exchange programmes were launched in Poland as early as 1989, complementing service provision at selected outpatient clinics. Harm reduction programmes, including outreach and street-based services, have been conducted since 1996. Harm reduction interventions are mainly conducted by NGOs and primarily cover larger Polish cities.

In 2017, 10 NSPs operated in 10 Polish cities, reaching 1 762 clients. With around 60 000 syringes distributed in 2017, the number of syringes given out had halved since 2013, while the number of clients attending specialised programmes had increased slightly.

Availablity of selected harm reduction responses in Europe
Country Needle and syringe programmes Take-home naloxone programmes Drug consumption rooms Heroin-assisted treatment
Austria Yes No No No
Belgium Yes No Yes No
Bulgaria Yes No No No
Croatia Yes No No No
Cyprus Yes No No No
Czechia Yes No No No
Denmark Yes Yes Yes Yes
Estonia Yes Yes No No
Finland Yes No No No
France Yes Yes Yes No
Germany Yes Yes Yes Yes
Greece Yes No No No
Hungary Yes No No No
Ireland Yes Yes No No
Italy Yes Yes No No
Latvia Yes No No No
Lithuania Yes Yes No No
Luxembourg Yes No Yes Yes
Malta Yes No No No
Netherlands Yes No Yes Yes
Norway Yes Yes Yes No
Poland Yes No No No
Portugal Yes No No No
Romania Yes No No No
Slovakia Yes No No No
Slovenia Yes No No No
Spain Yes Yes Yes No
Sweden Yes No No No
Turkey No No No No
United Kingdom Yes Yes No Yes

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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.