Country profile




There are 38,654 million inhabitants, of which 98% are ethnic Poles. Poland recognises 13 national or ethnic minorities.

Capital city


National drug strategy

The priorities of Polish National Program for Counteracting Drug Addiction for 1999-2001 include increase of treatment, rehabilitation, prevention and harm reduction availability and quality, strengthening law-enforcement activities to combat illicit drug trafficking, development of drug problem monitoring and international cooperation.

The new Program for 2002-2005 is being developed.


Marijuana consumption is increasing in Poland as demonstrated by drug surveys among the general population. In addition, an increasing number of young people are seeking treatment for drug dependency.

Drug use among the general population

The most recent survey conducted among the general population in Warsaw (2002) showed that 25.1% between 18 and 50 years old had experimented with marijuana at least once in their lives. The lifetime prevalence rate for amphetamines was 6.4% followed by 5.1% for LSD and 3.2 % for ecstasy. When compared to a survey that used the same research procedures in 1997, an upward trend of 3.6% for marijuana lifetime use was observed and a falling popularity of amphetamines and LSD of approximately 1% for the age group 18-50 years old.

Drug use among young people

Cannabis is the most popular illicit drug ever used in a lifetime among student’s ages 13-15 years old as demonstrated by a national school survey conducted in 2000 using a modified ESPAD questionnaire. The survey revealed clear differences between rural and urban areas. While in urban areas around 10% stated that they had ever used cannabis, only 4% reported to have ever cannabis in rural areas. Lifetime experiences for other drugs ranged between 2%-4.2% for amphetamine use, 1.5%-3.7% for heroin depending on rural or urban areas.


In Poland, the schools prevention programs target the promotion of healthy life-styles and encourages character development. Traditional methods, such as lectures and presentations are combined with more active form of group work such as training and discussion and brainstorming. The Ministry of National Education and Sport most often recommend the programs organized. Community-based programs that target in particular risk groups supplement the school prevention. To increase social visibility of the drug problem, a country-wide campaign is annually launched.

Treatment demand and problem drug use

According to 2001 Report the number of problem drug users in Poland was estimated on the level of 32,000 – 60,000. New estimation will be provided in 2003 National Report. Among persons admitted to residential treatment due to drug addiction the biggest proportion came for treatment primarily because of opiate use (40.4%) and polydrug use (38.1%) followed by tranquilliser use (8%), amphetamines use (6%) and inhalant use (3.7%). Compared to data for the years 1997 to 2000, the proportion of patients ages 16 to 24 years old increased steadily. In terms of type of diagnosis, no significant changes were observed between 1997 and 2001, except for a decrease in persons seeking treatment for inhalant use.

Treatment response

Drug treatment is offered through drug free programs conducted in residential centres and especially managed by NGOs. Ambulatory treatment is less popular in Poland. Methadone substitution programs are offered by 10 public health care facilities and reached approximately 4% of opiate addicts in 2001. Poland is the CEECs country with the longest tradition in therapeutic communities that aim at rehabilitation and prolonged abstinence. The role of these communities has superseded the otherwise prevailing position of psychiatric institutions in other CEECs.

Health consequences

Data on HIV prevalence among reported IDUs for 1995-2001 suggest a stability of trends. In 2001, 0.68 % per 100 000 population were HIV positive among reported IDUs. Trends for the number of new HIV cases among IDUs show a slight downward trend for the years 1997 to 2001.

Harm reduction

In recent years the number of harm reduction programmes has increased steadily. In 2001, NGOs implemented 17 programs of needle and syringe exchange and covered 7,763 drug addicts, which constitute a threefold increase in comparison with the year 2000.

Reports on the drugs situation

National reports

Disclaimer © European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, 2002
The texts, reports and publications in this section have been provided by the candidate countries’ national focal points. The findings, conclusions and interpretations in these documents are those of the authors alone and do not represent the policy of the EMCDDA, its partners, any EU Member State or any agency or institution of the European Union or European Communities.

English documents in English | National language documents in national language

Related websites

  1. English European Commission: Enlargement: Poland – This page provides an introduction to Poland’s country profile, an overview of of key documents related to enlargement, press releases and interesting links.

  2. National language English Strona Domowa Krajowego Biura ds. Przeciwdziałania Narkomanii | Information on National Bureau for Drug Prevention Poland
    Information about the structure of the Bureau, Epidemiological situation in Poland, Activities take up by the Bureau (founds, prevention campaigned etc.), Addresses to the rehabilitation centers and counseling points in Poland, Law regulation concerning the drug related crimes, Links to other websites.

  3. National language English Instytut Psychiatrii i Neurologii | Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology
    Structure, organization and main activities take up by the Institute, Selected articles form the scientific magazine publishing by the Institute.

  4. National language Narkomania, narkotyki, HIV/AIDS, HCV, redukcja szkód – Latest changing in Polish law, act of counteracting the drug addiction, description of drugs, links to other websites.

  5. National language Krajowe Centrum ds AIDS – Basic information about drugs, links to other websites.

  6. National language CTN Monar Kraków – Information about structure of the organization, basic information about drugs and their influence on the human body and mind, links to other website (also to the branches of the ‘Monar’, for example foundation in Jelenia Góra).

  7. National language Centrum Zdrowia Psychicznego i Leczenia Uzależnień ‘FAMILIA’ – Information about structure of organization, information about staff and activities take up by these organizations, links to other websites.

English documents in English | National language documents in national language | National language English bilingual websites

The country profiles were produced by the EMCDDA in collaboration with National Focal Points in the acceding and candidate countries and were primarily based on their 2002 National Reports on the drugs situation. Due to the existing incompleteness of the epidemiological data provided, the information given should not be used for comparison of the drug situation between countries. They constitute separate sources of basic information on the drug situation in each country. In addition, estimates for individual indicators (i.e. treatment demand indicator) presented in the profiles may not be representative of the population they refer to and should be interpreted with caution. Efforts will be undertaken to improve comparability, compatibility with EMCDDA standards and to update the profiles on a regular basis.