Since 2013, the drug control sections of the Criminal Code have covered trafficking, possession, incitement of minors to use drugs or similar substances, assisting production, precursors, new psychoactive substances (NPS) and performance enhancement (doping).
Consumption is now a criminal offence (unlike during the period 2003-13), punishable by up to 2 years in prison. Possession is punishable by up to 2 years in prison if it involves small quantities. Other penalties include 1-5 years for a basic offence, increasing to 2-8 years if the offence is committed under certain circumstances, and 5-10 and 5-15 years if the offence involves a larger quantity of drugs. Similar sentence ranges are available for supply offences, although they increase to 5-20 years’ imprisonment in certain circumstances, and life imprisonment if large quantities are involved. As of 2013, maximum penalties are no longer lower for offences committed by drug users, though the court may take the perpetrator’s drug use into consideration when imposing punishment. The option to suspend prosecution in the case of treatment is available to offenders committing drug law offences that involve only small quantities of drugs (production, manufacture, acquiring, possession for personal use); this option is not available within 2 years of a previous suspension.
To control new psychoactive substances (NPS) in Hungary, a government decree set up a formalised rapid assessment in 2012. This allowed the inclusion of NPS in Decree 55/2014 of the Minister of Human Capacities. Inclusion means a temporary control for 1 year with the possibility of an extension of 1 year, after which it will be transferred to the schedule of psychoactive substances or the Schedule D of the Decree, depending on whether the danger is greater or lesser. Accordingly, the Criminal Code now provides for a punishment of up to 3 years in prison for the manufacture of NPS, 1-5 years for supply and up to 3 years for possession of more than a small amount (2 g of the active substance). For possession of a small amount, the user will be subject to a non-criminal infringement procedure. There is also a section penalising the incitement of minors to use ‘a substance or agent that has a narcotic effect but is not classified as a drug’ with a maximum penalty of 2 years’ imprisonment.
Drug law offence (DLO) data are the foundation for monitoring drug-related crime and are also a measure of law enforcement activity and drug market dynamics; they may be used to inform policies on the implementation of drug laws and to improve strategies.
The 2017 data on DLOs from Hungary indicate that the majority of offences were related to use/possession (80 %). More than half of offences in 2017 were related to cannabis; the next most prevalent DLOs were those related to stimulants. Since 2012, when criminal liability for NPS offences was introduced, the proportion of all supply-related DLOs that are NPS related has increased.