Poland to increase sentences for ‘designer drugs’

Possession of significant quantities of designer drugs will be punishable with up to three years in prison. Photo: Shutterstock/SpeedKingz

Possession of significant quantities of the previously legal psychoactive substances will be punishable with up to three years in prison, while dealers will face up to 12 years.

The Council of Ministers adopted a draft amendment which aims to limit access to psychoactive substances. After the legal changes come into force, designer drugs will face a similar legal framework as stronger narcotics.

Following the amendment, the inclusion to the list of New Psychoactive Substances will be expedited. This will accelerate the process of adding new substances to the list of banned chemicals.

Hospitals will also be obliged to inform authorities about people who are brought in as a result of designer drug poisoning.

The problem of designer drugs resurfaced in Poland last month when around a dozen people aged 14 to 30 from a town in north-western Poland were hospitalized after they showed symptoms of ingesting psychoactive substances. Some of them were in a serious condition.

Poland currently bans the possession and production of 38 such substances without permission.

"The problem is that manufacturers of dangerous substances can evade [the law] very easily by introducing small changes in the composition and devising new names," said Health Minister Łukasz Szumowski.

In recent years dozens of people have died in Poland after using designer drugs.