5. The importance of an evidence-based approach in the development of a national drug policy
An evidence-based approach allows politicians to take well-informed decisions about policies by putting the best available evidence from research at the heart of policy development and implementation.
Polish experience shows that for an evidence-based approach in the development of a national drug policy, it is important to create a solid institutional and legal framework. From the central institutions where the NDO is located, to the strong research community and ending with NGOs and municipalities, a comprehensive support structure was created. The tasks of all these institutions are defined by law and each local community/municipality should have an addiction prevention strategy based on a diagnosis. In addition, the activities are financed by tax revenues and go to local governments and NGOs. Independence of local government and NGOs limits ideological influences on activities in the field of counteracting addictions. Central institutions support the process by, for example, promoting standards and creating platforms for the exchange of experiences.
In Poland the efforts of various institutions promoting an evidence-based approach are paying off. In 2020, despite the pandemic in Poland, 624 local communities implemented evidence-based prevention programmes and 400 local communities used the European Drug Prevention Quality Standards in their work.
The presentation will focus on the question: Which mechanisms can be put in place to avoid that ideological standpoints dominate the debate? Despite solid structures nothing should be taken for granted and, in Poland, the ideological approach still competes with an evidence-based approach in the drugs field.