Drug use and responses in prison in Hungary 2017

Hungary Country Drug Report 2017

Drug use and responses in prison

Prisons in Hungary are the responsibility of the Ministry of Interior.

According to the available national data on drug use among prison inmates, 30-40 % of inmates in Hungarian detention facilities had used an illicit drug at some point in their lives prior to imprisonment. Cannabis was the most commonly used drug, followed by stimulants, mainly amphetamines. Data from a 2008 study indicated that 14 % of inmates had used drugs while in prison. The increasing use of NPS (mainly synthetic cannabinoids) among inmates has been observed in recent years, mirroring increasing consumption in the community, although reliable data are not available.

The prevalence of HIV, hepatitis B virus (HBV) and HCV infections is higher among inmates than in the general population. Based on a 2009 study, HBV and HCV prevalence among inmates is approximately 2 % and 5 %, respectively. HCV prevalence is higher among those who have used drugs (9 %) and even higher among those who had injected drugs (23 %). Recent studies on HIV/HCV prevalence among PWID have reported that almost half of PWID have been in prison at some time in their lives.

Drug treatment and care in prisons is organised on the basis of a medical model, in which drug use is seen primarily as a medical problem. The Hungarian legal system provides the opportunity for those committing a drug-related offence to participate in the three-level system of treatment as alternative to criminal procedure (QCT), comprising preventive consulting services, drug treatment and treatment for other conditions related to drug use.

Drug treatment is available in prison mainly as part of an alternative to a criminal procedure and is provided by the prison system health services and external treatment providers, mainly outpatient services. This system is supplemented by the prevention programmes offered by different NGOs, which, because of their tender-based financing, provide heterogeneous and ad hoc content.

Prison inmates may receive drug treatment in the form of psychosocial intervention, counselling or pharmacologically assisted treatment. OST, which can be initiated or continued in prison, is available at outpatient centres, although the number of those receiving OST in prison remains very low.

Infectious disease testing, counselling and treatment are available in prison. Few prisons have post-release overdose prevention programmes. There is no formal pre-release procedure for inmates receiving drug-related treatment, although they may be referred to appropriate services. Reintegration programmes aimed specifically at drug users are available in approximately half of prisons.

In recent years, increase NPS use among prison inmates has been observed, mirroring increasing consumption in the community


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