Petition to the Minister of Health in Poland and the President of Warsaw

Published: February 23, 2011

Ms. Ewa Kopacz, Minister of Health in Poland

Ms. Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, President of Warsaw City

We write to express our profound concerns for the availability of evidence based-drug treatment in Poland. Recently, it came to our attention that the only fully integrated local Monar program offering a variety of services for drug users in Krakow is being dismantled.  Further more, that the person who has developed this impressive structures is being dismissed.

Monar center in Krakow is recognized as ‘best practice.’ in comprehensive care to drug users.  Over 100 trainings funded by various international organizations took place at the various centers brining to Poland drug treatment professionals from Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Georgia; and even far away Mauritius.  Colleagues from Krakow engaged in international debates and traveled as far as Afghanistan to share their experience.  Marek Zygadlo, the leader of the effort in Krakow is a recipient of the internationally renowned Rolleston Award for his services in the development of Harm Reduction programs in Poland.

We are gravely concerned about the direction that Poland’s largest, publically funded non-governmental organization offering drug treatment is heading. Monar’s statute already excludes provision opiate substitution treatment, despite the fact that this treatment is the most effective of all available methods for opioid users, and is recommended by the World Health Organization.  It seems that any challenge to the abstinence-only philosophy is drastically responded to by the organization’s management. As the experience of Krakow illustrates, regional branches and individuals are under severe attack.
We request appropriate intervention to ensure that the best interests of drug dependent patients are met and that colleagues willing to bring new, internationally recognized and evidence-based approaches to Poland are provided with proper support.




1.    Jacek Paszkiewicz, Chairman of the National Health Fund

2.    Pawel Adamowicz, President of the City of Gdansk

3.    Prof. Jacek Majchrowski, President of the City of Krakow

4.    Stanislaw Kracik, Malopolski Vojevod,

5.    dr Piotr Jablonski, Director of  The National Bureau for Drug Prevention

6.    Kasia Malinowska-Sempruch, Director of The Global Drug Policy Program, Open Society Institute

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