The treatment-related objectives of the current Hungarian National Anti-drug Strategy are built on a recovery-oriented approach and place emphasis on enhancing the availability and quality of treatment services, with a particular focus on young people. In Hungary, treatment of drug users is a task shared by the healthcare system and social services, with the participation of the non-governmental institutions. The State Secretariat for Health Care is responsible for all aspects related to drug users’ healthcare, while the State Secretariat for Social Affairs and Social Inclusion is in charge of issues related to social care. Both secretariats are located at the Ministry of Human Capacities. Treatment services at a regional level are primarily provided by public bodies and, to a lesser extent, by non-governmental drug service providers.
A clear separation exists between the financing, definition, regulation and inspection of social and health services.
Drug treatment in Hungary: settings and number treated
NBYear of data 2015.
Trends in percentage of clients entering specialised drug treatment, by primary drug in Hungary
NBYear of data 2015.
Opioid substitution treatment in Hungary: proportions of clients in OST by medication and trends of the total number of clients
NBYear of data 2015.
The health services for drug users are mainly financed by the National Health Insurance Fund, while the majority of social services are financed using a fixed financing model through the social budget, which may be supplemented with additional resources allocated through tendering.
In Hungary, drug treatment is not substance based and covers licit and illicit substances, other dependencies and psychiatric problems. Treatment is offered to drug users at various outpatient and inpatient facilities throughout the country. Some treatment units provide only health or social services, while others provide mixed services. The Hungarian treatment system includes specialised inpatient and outpatient drug treatment units, inpatient and outpatient units for addiction or mental health, therapeutic communities and crisis intervention departments.
Quasi-compulsory treatment (QCT) as an alternative to criminal procedures and long-term rehabilitation are provided mostly by NGOs. The latter services are only partially medical or healthcare-related, and are dominated by social and welfare elements, such as work therapy and social reintegration. In addition, a supported housing service is funded by the state and an online self-help programme for problem cannabis users is offered by some outpatient centres in Budapest.
Opioid substitution treatment (OST) has been available since 1994 (with methadone), while buprenorphine-based treatment was introduced in 2007. Both methadone and buprenorphine-based treatment are financed by the state. Methadone is provided only at specialised outpatient treatment centres, whereas buprenorphine can be prescribed by any psychiatrist. OST is provided within the remit of outpatient treatment services, but it is also provided by some inpatient treatment providers, mostly for detoxification purposes.
Of all treatment clients entering drug treatment services during 2015, most entered treatment as an alternative to criminal procedures and they were mainly treated in outpatient units. Cannabis remained the primary substance of use among all treatment clients entering treatment in 2015, followed by other drugs (mainly NPS), amphetamines and opioids. Cannabis is also the most frequently noted primary substance for those who enter the treatment through the criminal justice system. The long-term analysis indicates a decrease in heroin-related treatment demands and an increase in the number of clients entering treatment for NPS use. Synthetic cannabinoids and synthetic cathinones are the most common groups of NPS for which treatment is sought.
The long-term analysis indicates a decline in the number of OST clients in Hungary, which is explained by the reduction of the amount of heroin in the market and therefore in the related treatment demand. The majority of OST clients were treated with methadone in 2015.