Poland introduces ‘treat not punish’ drug law
PR dla Zagranicy
An amendment on illegal narcotics possession law allows prosecutors to bypass courts in line with a “treat, not punish” approach to drug use.
The amendment will be put into practice as of Friday, with prosecutors able to act independently in cases of the possession of small quantities of narcotics.
Agnieszka Sieniawska, head of the Polish Drug Policy Network (PSPN), told Polish Radio's press agency (IAR) that the new system will be quicker, cheaper and more efficient.
Meanwhile, a person arrested for possession can be immediately referred to a therapist, with prosecutors now compelled to gather information on the scale of the user's problem.This need not take place at the police station itself.
Barbara Wilamowska from the National Bureau for Drug Prevention (KBPN) believes that the new system will lead to fewer prosecutions.
Nevertheless, penalties for drug-trafficking have been increased under the new amendment.
Two Polish Nobel Prize laureates, former president Lech Walesa and poet Wislawa Szymborska, signed a statement last month calling for lighter punishments for those arrested for personal use.
The newly formed Palikot's Movement, a liberal party which won a surprise 10 percent share of the vote in the 9 October general election, is championing full legalisation of soft drugs.
However, Prime Minister Donald Tusk, head of the current coalition government, has declared that his party (Civic Platform) is against such a policy. (nh/pg)