March was a very interesting month for Polish drug policy. As reported in the newspaper “Gazeta Wyborcza”, their journalist was able to buy half a gram of heroin on the Silk Road website. Finding a seller only took her a few minutes, with the help of Polish internauts. Next, she only needed to make an order, pay, and wait for a parcel, just like on ebay.
In the internet age, the drug trade is becoming more widespread and accessible. This is one more challenge and test for the Polish government, which has been unsuccessful so far in its attempts to grapple with drug problems. The government's main tactic of criminal repression is targeted at drug users – an approach which isn't compatible with effective reduction of serious drug-related crime. A policy of Prohibition and repression has been the norm in Poland for many years, but in spite of this, you can buy heroin on the internet in just 5 minutes. The Public Prosecutor in Poznań City wants to find out who sold the heroin online to the “Gazeta Wyborcza” journalist. A group including Nobel Prize winners Lech Walesa and Wislawa Szymborska saw the priorities somewhat differently: In their letter, they urged the introduction of rational drug policy based on facts and research, because policy based on fear and imprisonment has been a total failure.
Another interesting event occurred, organized by the Wolne Konopie Association. Illegal cannabis seedlings from which marijuana is produced were given to a disabled person. The police took no action, despite the fact this was done publicly, in front of the local courthouse. The aim of this event was to publicize the need to allow use of marijuana for medical purposes.
Methadone treatment programs in Pomerania are becoming more controversial every day, because of local conflicts in drug policy. The first local methadone therapy program was launched in 1 February 2012 after a 9-year struggle with the local authorities. Despite this, the clinic has no patients. However around 60 patients go to another clinic in Gdansk and are able to receive replacement therapy, with the help of local service-providers. The problem is that the first clinic (in principle more popular with patients) had no funding, and its staff were prevented for years from getting it into full operations.
Agnieszka Sieniawska, Polish Drug Policy Network