264478 An epidemiological survey to determine the scale and serious public health risk of designer drug (DD) abuse in Polish schoolchildren and students

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Przemyslaw Bilinski, MD, PhD , Chief Sanitary Inspector, Chief Sanitary Inspectorate, Institute of Haematology and Transfusion Medicine, Warsaw, Poland
Lucyna Kapka-Skrzypczak, PhD , University of Information Technology and Management, Department of Public Health, Rzeszow, Poland, Institute of Rural Health, Independent Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Lublin, Poland, Lublin, Poland
Piotr Holownia, PhD , Chief Sanitary Inspectorate, Warsaw, Poland
Piotr Kulpa, MBA , Director General, Chief Sanitary Inspectorate, Warsaw, Poland
Marek Posobkiewicz, PhD MD , Chief Sanitary Inspectorate in Poland, Warsaw, Poland
Andrzej Wojtyla, MD PhD , Director, Institute of Agricultural Medicine Lublin, Lublin, Poland
Since 2008 it is recognised by most health authorities worldwide that abuse of newly emerging psychoactive drugs, (‘designer drugs'/‘legal highs'), in youth is a problem rapidly increasing especially in the EU, threatening to offset gains made in tackling established and illegal drugs which they are intended to mimic; DD diversity continually increasing to circumvent laws. This was particularly acute in Poland with hundreds of hospitalisations resulting in Oct 2010 alone bringing about drastic enforcement action following scientific assessment and changes to the national law for the situation to be controlled. A major randomised survey of 10,083 school pupils and 4,428 students was therefore performed (March-April 2011), to determine the scale of DD abuse/availability amongst Polish youth. Few persons from each group admitted using DDs; 453 schoolpupils (4.49%) vs 81 students (1.83%). More males (4.74%) took DDs than females (2.77%). The tendency to take DDs in friend's company was high in both DD taking groups (>80%). First time users within 1-2 years ago constituted the highest group. DDs were consumed mostly in open spaces (34.15%), discos/pubs (21.13%) and boarding school/friends house (20.57). Most frequently DDs came from shops (57.68%), friends (31.46%) or dealers (10.67%). Ensuing symptoms included; happy/euphoric mood (58.8%), talkativeness (42.51%) and hallucinations (22.85%). Over 73% of DD takers in both groups experienced adverse reactions and those requiring help sought; friends/colleagues (6.74%), doctors (5.06%), hospitals (4.87%) but most rarely parents/guardians (2.62%). Urgent action is being taken, especially youth education, to prevent DDs becoming the serious menace seen with conventional drugs.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Basic medical science applied in public health
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Learning objectives; Describe the problem of designer drugs abuse and assess the epidemiological situation in Polish youth to allow targets for remedial/educational action to be identified.

Keywords: Drug Abuse, Adolescent Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Medical University of Lodz (MD), PhD; Endocrinology; in Poland. Clinical endocrinological post-graduate qualifications at leading European universities and senior management, administration, public health, education and business qualifications. Postings; Directors of major Polish teaching hospitals/departments (Lodz & Warsaw in internal medicine, osteoporosis & menopause, disease prevention, thyroidology, haematology & transfusion). Several consultantships member of European scientific and management associations. Current tenure is Chief Sanitary Inspector of Poland & Ministry of Health responsible for Public Health.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.