In Hungary, cannabis is the most commonly used illicit substance among the general population and its use is concentrated among young adults aged 18-34 years. The most recent data point to a decrease in last-year cannabis use among young adults. Against this background, use of MDMA/ecstasy, cocaine and amphetamines increased in 2007-15.
Moreover, following the emergence of NPS in the Hungarian drug market, these substances, which mainly belong to the groups of synthetic cannabinoids, synthetic cathinones or amphetamine derivatives, have become as popular as established illicit drugs, in particular among young adults.
Estimates of last-year drug use among young adults (18-34 years) in Hungary
NBEstimated last-year prevalence of drug use in 2015.
Substance use among 15- to 16- year-old school students in Hungary
NB Source: ESPAD study 2015
Drug use among students is reported in the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD). This study has been conducted among 16-year- old students in Hungary regularly since 1995. The results of the 2015 ESPAD study confirmed that cannabis remains the most commonly used drug among this group, albeit at a lower level than in 2011, and that lifetime use of cannabis among Hungarian students is somewhat lower than the ESPAD average (35 countries). The prevalence rates of lifetime use of illicit drugs other than cannabis and NPS are similar to the ESPAD averages. In contrast, more Hungarian students reported use of alcohol in the last 30 days, and the reported frequency of heavy episodic drinking was also higher than the average for all countries.
Studies reporting estimates of high-risk use can help to identify the extent of the more entrenched drug use problems, while data on the first-time entrants to specialised drug treatment centres, when considered alongside other indicators, can inform understanding on the nature and trends in high-risk drug use.
In the Hungarian context, high-risk drug use is currently linked mainly to injection of stimulants and NPS. Studies carried out in recent years indicate that there has been a continuous increase in injection of NPS (largely synthetic cathinones) and, in particular, that there has been a shift from injecting established drugs (heroin and amphetamines) to injecting NPS. According to data from clients of needle and syringe programmes, injecting heroin use has decreased significantly.
High-risk drug use is currently linked mainly to injecting stimulants and NPS
The data from specialised treatment centres in Hungary indicate that there has been a continuous increase in the numbers of clients seeking treatment services for NPS and a decrease in heroin treatment demand since 2010. Cannabis was the primary substance most frequently reported by first-time clients entering treatment in 2015, many of whom entered treatment as an alternative to the criminal procedure system and might not exhibit dependence symptoms.
Injecting remains the primary mode of drug use among those entering drug treatment as a result of the use of heroin, amphetamines or other synthetic stimulants (mainly NPS). Approximately 2 out of 10 clients entering treatment are female.
National estimates of last year prevalence of high-risk opioid use
NBYear of data 2015, or latest available year.
Characteristics and trends of drug users entering specialised drug treatment centres in Hungary
NBYear of data 2015. Data is for first-time entrants, except for gender which is for all treatment entrants