Polish Drug Policy Network is a group of 150 experts – addiction treatment specialists, medical doctors, lawyers, penitentiary workers, social workers, pedagogues, representatives of NGOs as well as users. All together they aspire to change drug legislation in Poland, which is most restrictive in Europe.
Background: Polish Drug Policy Network was established as a civil initiative in 2008. Main objectives of the Network are the following: firstly, to amend drug legislation, which currently penalizes possession of any drug by 3 years of imprisonment (art. 62.1 of the Act on counteracting drug addiction); and, secondly, to increase access to substitution treatment (in Poland only 15% of those in need can receive substitution treatment) and expand the offer of substitution treatment programs by introducing new medicines.
Activities of the Network: So far the Network has been involved in the following activities: legal actions (cooperation with the Office of the Ombudsman of addicted persons), participation in public debates (numerous interviews in mass media, participation in the social campaign of Gazeta Wyborcza „We, Drug Poles”, in the Open’er Festival in 2009), organization of meetings facilitating the dialogue on treatment of drug addicts and changes of drug legislation, resulting often in numerous open letters and opinions addressed to the Minister of Health, Minister of Justice, Prime Minister, both Chambers of the Parliament (Seim and Senate), National Bureau on counteracting drug addiction and other organizations that can have impact on the wording of the Act on counteracting drug addiction. The Commission with the Ministry of Justice that drafted amendments to the new Act (soon to be voted upon by the Senate) was among others comprised of active members of the Network. Office of the Polish Drug Policy Network is located in the capital city of Warsaw. We cooperate with many organizations, among others, with the Social Critique, Social AIDS Committee- SKA, OSI Global Drug Policy, JUMP 93.
Agnieszka Sieniawska, Chairperson of the Polish Drug Policy Network since 2011, alumni of the Faculty of Law and Administration at the University of Warsaw. Since 2009 has provided legal aid and been involved in activities aimed at amending drug laws; author of two reports describing the legal situation of drug users in Poland. She was involved in the preparation of the amendment to the Act on Counteracting Drug Addiction that came into force in December 2011. Since 2008 she has coordinated the European Drug Policy Initiative Program, implemented jointly with the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union.
Marek Zygadło, addiction therapist, international harm reduction expert. For many years have been involved in the establishment of the system aimed at helping people with addiction and/or HIV.
In 2010-2011 Chairperson of the Polish Drug Policy Network and one of leading activists and experts of the Polish Drug Policy Network that was delegated to participate in the works of Parliament Committees aimed at the amendment of the Act on Counteracting Drug Addiction.
Jacek Charmast. Works in harm reduction as well as advocates for substitution therapy in Poland. In 2002 initiated the establishment of a harm reduction center in Warsaw, in 2006 opened a hostel for methadone substitution therapy patients and a drop-in center. Author of chapters on dependency treatment in two reports of the Polish Addiction Ombudsman’s Office.
Grzegorz Wodowski. Sociologist and specialist in addiction therapy. Directs the Clinic MONAR in Krakow, leading both harm reduction programs, and activities related to drug treatment. Editor of a drug store MNB. Founding member of the Polish Drug Policy Network. Author of many publications in the field of addiction.
Jerzy Vetulani, psychopharmacologist, Active Member of the Polish Skills Academy, Corresponding Member of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Honorary Member of the Indian Academy of Neuroscience. Author of over 500 scientific publications, including over 200 original research projects. Advocate of drug decriminalization in case of adults and use of marihuana for medical purposes in Poland.
Krzysztof Krajewski, lawyer and sociologist, Head of the Department of Criminology at the Jagiellonian University, lecturer at the Jagiellonian University, member of the EMCDDA Scientific Committee, author of numerous publications comparing criminal law, illicit drugs and drug addiction in Poland to drug laws in other countries, among others, The sense and nonsense of prohibition. In 2009-2011 led the group of experts that prepared the amendment to the Act on Counteracting Drug Addiction that came into force in December 2011.
Ewa Woydyłło, Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D), addiction therapist. Works in the Stefan Batory Foundation, where she coordinates the Regional Program for Counteracting Addictions. For her outstanding achievements was awarded the St. George Medal by the Tygodnik Powszechny in 2002, the Gold Badge „For Achievements in Penitentiary Work” by the Minister of Justice in 2002, and Officer’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta by the President of the Republic of Poland in 2005.
Marek Balicki, MD, psychiatrist, Polish politician, Health Minister in the Cabinets of Leszek Miller and Marek Belka, member of the Polish Sejm (lower chamber of the Polish Parliament) of the I, II and VI Convocations (Cadence), a Senate member of the V Convocation (Cadence). For many years involved in reforms pertaining to Polish drug policy. Advocates for depenalization of possession of small amounts of drugs for personal use (alongside the drug amount reference tables) and legalization of marihuana usage for medical purposes.
Piotr Kładoczny, Doctor of Laws (L.D), Head of the Legal Department of the Faculty of Law and Administration at the University of Warsaw, Associate Professor at the Institute of Criminal Law, lawyer with the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, author of numerous publications on human rights. Member of the Programming Board of the Strategic Litigation Program of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, of the Scientific Society of Criminal Law as well as of the Polish Section of the International Commission of Jurists.
Piotr Pacewicz, journalist, Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D), one the founders of the Gazeta Wyborcza, vice-chairperson of the Gazeta Wyborcza between 1995-2010. Feminist. Protects human rights of LGBT community representatives, drug users, advocates for the end of the ‘war on drugs’. Awarded Rainbow Laurels (2000), Hyacinth Award in mass media category (2008), the Tolerance Award by the German, French and Polish LGBT organizations (2007). Knight’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta (2011).
Ewa Wanat Polish TV and radio journalist. Since May 2013 editor-in-chief of polish radio RDC. Before that, she was editor-in-chief of TOK FM radio. Under her supervision, TOK FM radio got the “ Radio Station of 2008” award. Ewa Wanat was on the list of 100 most influential people of the year 2011 by “Wprost” magazine. Since 2013 she is a member of Polish Drug Policy Network program committee. She was nominated three times to “ Dariusz Fikus” award in “ media creator” category. Also three times nominated to “Andrzej Wojciechowski” award. Laureate of “Hyacinth 2010” award for “ brave, open-minded and socially sensitive journalism”. A man of the media in Brief Magazine in 2010.