Narcophobia meets queerphobia: criminalisation, harm reduction and responsibility in Polish drug policies

Justyna Struzik

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Jagiellonian University




In 2019, Sebastian Kaleta, a Polish parliamentarian associated with the ruling Law and Justice party, published a report denigrating Warsaw-based organisations working in the field of LGBT rights and harm reduction. The report allegedly shows what these organisations actually spend taxpayers’ money on. In Kaleta’s view, under the guise of working in the field of drug dependency and combating HIV/AIDS, the NGOs in fact “affirm” the use of psychoactive substances and “promote” non-heteronormative sexual behaviours. The distribution of condoms, education on how to use psychoactive substances in a safer way, de-stigmatisation of non-heteronormative sexual practices (e.g., chemsex), do, according to the author of the report, lead to the dissemination of “harmful ideologies,” with so-called LGBT and gender ideologies at the forefront. The data used to create the report was public information published on the websites and social media networks of such organisations as Social Education Foundation (FES), which works in sex education and STIs prevention; Social Drug Policy Initiative (SIN), which organises screening tests of psychoactive substances and advocates for changing the public perception of drugs and drug laws in Poland; Sex Work Poland, which is an informal initiative of sex workers and allies advocating for sex workers’ rights; Social Policy Foundation, PREKURSOR, a harm reduction organisation; and Social AIDS Committee (SKA) – HIV/AIDS service provider.  Nevertheless, the report was presented by the pro-government press as a document revealing the “hidden truth” and the “real face” of NGOs.