Personal statement from Polish friend and opiaphile activist

I am a 29 years old woman from Krakow, Poland. I was born here, and it was here I started to take heroin when I was 13 years old. My mother studied history and my father is a judge in Highest Court. So I can say that I had best background possible. At that time, my treatment option was to go into a psychiatric hospital and after detoxify tried to remain abstinent. I stopped counting hospital visits after 10. In 98 I went to MONAR centre for rehabilitation where I stayed for two months but this also didn’t work for me. I returned to Krakow and all my problems with heroin started again. I knew that at that time in Warsaw was methadone program so I started lobbying for same thing in Krakow and others cities.

In 2000, a methadone program begin in Krakow I was one of few first patients there.
But (there is always some but) I get thrown out for taking heroin again and then I get infected HIV and HCV. I just stop caring for my life.

I have studied law at the Jagiellonian University for 3 semesters, but the doctor said that even methadone is not working for my treatment, I just gave up a little bit. But my strong personality does not allowed my to just surrender and I returned on methadone.

Since that time, 5 years ago I stop taking illegal drugs and focused on users human rights that are constitutionally protected but are broken so often.

Two years ago a group of us from Krakow methadone program members started an association: we did all necessary things that it legal and it is first drug users association running only by DU`s and IDU`s in Poland.

We plan to make a national network of drug users organization.

That’s my story and because of non effective drug policy I was discriminated for so many years, I lose family support because they was told by government organization treating drug users to be thrown on the street, that was the organisation’s only advice and counselling to my family! I lost health from lack of clean needles and syringes. I left University because of discrimination against methadone users.

All this events get me thinking and I started to be a drug user activist.

Now I see my future connected with the human rights movement, especially helping most discriminated people, who are in my opinion drug users. I want to see real change for next generation and I think that my experience could be helpful and that in future case mine will be exceptions rather than the norm in the EU.

Marianna Iwulska
Oct 1 2006/Kracow/Poland

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