Hungary country overview

Hungary country overview

Map of Hungary

About NFP: 

The Hungarian national focal point has been located within the National Institute for Health Development since 1 January 2016. Its legal basis was confirmed by an adoption of a governmental resolution in September 2003. The Inter-ministerial Coordination Committee on Drug Affairs oversees the work of the national focal point.

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Last updated: Friday, May 27, 2016

Drug use among the general population and young people

Content for prevalence: 

Three nationwide studies on drug use among the general population have been conducted in Hungary. The most recent general population survey on drug use was conducted in 2007 among 18- to 64-year-olds. It found that lifetime prevalence was 8.5 % for cannabis, 2.4 % for ecstasy, 1.8 % for amphetamines, 1.1 % for hallucinogens and under 1 % for other illicit substances. In 2003 lifetime prevalence was 9.8 % for cannabis, 3.1 % for ecstasy, 2.5 % for amphetamines and under 2 % for other substances. Available data for young adults aged 18–34 in 2007 found that lifetime prevalence was 19.1 % for cannabis, 5.1 % for ecstasy and 4.0 % for amphetamines. Last year prevalence of cannabis use was 5.7 % and last month prevalence was 2.7 %.

In 2013 a study on social well-being that included questions on drug use was carried out among a sample of 2 000 people aged 19–64. Cannabis was the most frequently reported substance ever used by the participants, followed by synthetic cannabinoids, ecstasy, amphetamines and other new psychoactive substances. A large proportion of respondents reported using two or more illicit substances in the past year. The study indicates that illicit drug use predominates among young males, those who live in large cities, those with university qualifications and those from poorer social groups. More detailed results are available in the 2014 National report.

Hungary also participates in the international study on Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) among young people aged 15 and 17. The most recent survey was carried out in 2014 and indicated a lifetime prevalence rate of 12 % for cannabis use among 15- year-old boys and 14 % among girls.

Nationwide data on drug use among 16-year-old students are based on the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD), which has been conducted regularly since 1995. The most recent ESPAD results, from 2011, showed that 19 % had ever tried marijuana or hashish (13 % in 2007; 16 % in 2003). In 2011 lifetime prevalence for inhalants was reported by 10 % of the students. Lifetime prevalence was 6 % for amphetamines, 4 % for ecstasy, 3 % for LSD, 2 % for cocaine and 2 % for heroin. Last year prevalence was 15 % for cannabis (10 % in 2007; 11 % in 2003), and last month prevalence was 8 % (5 % in 2007; 6 % in 2003). In terms of gender differences, the reported lifetime prevalence of cannabis use was 21 % among males and 18 % among females.

The results of both studies indicate that drug use, in particular cannabis and amphetamines, has become more prevalent among school-aged adolescents.

Look for Prevalence of drug use in the Statistical bulletin for more information.


Content for prevention: 

The National Anti-Drug Strategy 2013–20 gives a priority to drug prevention activities and defines ten main settings where they should be carried out: local communities, family, general education and child protection institution systems, higher education, peer groups, media, workplace, penal institutions and institutions administrating treatment as an alternative to criminal procedure.

In Hungary, prevention activities are mainly financed by the state-supported annual grant system started in 2001–02, which also allowed further developments in the registration of national prevention programmes and boosted a shift from the one-way information provisions towards more interactive programmes that attempt to influence the attitudes and beliefs of the target audience. In 2014 a total of 164 projects were supported, and half of them proposed universal prevention activities in school or community setting. However, the one-year cycle adopted for awarding of grants has been seen as a challenge in terms of sustainability and continuation of prevention activities. The funding from various European Union funding sources is used to increase the capacity of prevention professionals, and also to finance larger prevention campaigns.

Universal prevention activities are mainly implemented in educational settings within a framework of comprehensive health promotion programmes, and are frequently run by non-governmental organisations. Police are actively involved in prevention activities in educational settings with several initiatives. For example, approximately 350 schools implement the DADA programmes (based on the American DARE model). Hungary has also participated in the European Drug Prevention Quality Standards (EDPQS) project. In 2013 the professional recommendation system for programmes within the comprehensive school development system was set up, and monitoring their implementation has been entrusted to the National Institute for Health Development. Accordingly, only programmes recommended by the National Institute for Health Development will be permitted in schools. In 2014 a total of 41 programmes related to substance use were submitted for health development programme recommendation. Only a very small number of the applications were able to comply with the professional criteria.

With regard to selective prevention, activities are targeted at youngsters living in state care, in penal institutions, in disadvantaged neighborhoods, homeless young people and pregnant women, and families with substance use problems.

Preventive activities at recreational settings such as festivals and clubs focus on the provision of information, distribution of condoms, distribution of water, vitamins, fizzy drinks and some food, and capacity building of staff working in those settings, with an overall aim of ensuring that clubbing and nightlife activities are safer.

Programmes targeting disadvantaged young people who spend a lot of time hanging around on the street are implemented in various locations across Hungary. These projects offer young people alternative ways to spend their spare time by encouraging them to take up sporting activities, and also provide education and information. Prevention activities are also carried out among army conscripts. Hungary participated in European Union-wide and international prevention projects such as the Healthy Nightlife Toolbox Project and ReDNet.

The main targets of indicated prevention activities are criminal offenders enrolled in preventive–consulting services, a type of quasi-compulsory treatment provided as an alternative to the criminal procedure. In 2014 more than 2 700 clients were enrolled in the programme.

See the Prevention profile for Hungary for more information. 

Problem drug use

Content for problem drug use: 

Up to 2012 the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) defined problem drug use as injecting drug use or long duration/regular use of opiates, cocaine and/or amphetamines. However, in 2012 a new definition of ‘high-risk drug use’ was adopted. The new definition includes ‘problem drug use’, but is broader (mainly in its inclusion of high-risk use of more substances). Details are available here.

Data from a 2010–11 capture–recapture study suggests that there were between 2 910 and 3 577 high-risk opioid users, with a central rate of 0.5 per 1 000 inhabitants aged 15–64. In 2007–08 the estimated population size of amphetamine users was 27 323 (95 % confidence interval (CI): 18 138–36 508), while the estimated number of cocaine users was about 5 600.

With regard to frequent cannabis use, an estimated 0.3 % of the Hungarian population aged 15–64 used cannabis daily or almost daily in 2007.

In 2008–09 the number of injecting drug users was estimated to be 5 699, with a central rate of 0.8 per 1 000 inhabitants aged 15–64. This estimation was based on the records of infectious diseases screening programmes.

Studies carried out in the most recent years indicate a continuous increase in injecting of new psychoactive substances (largely synthetic cathinones), and in particular a shift from injecting ‘traditional’ substances (heroin, amphetamines) to new psychoactive substances (NPS). Heroin injecting drastically decreased and nearly disappeared in the last few years.

Look for High-risk drug use in the Statistical bulletin for more information. 

Treatment demand

Content for treatment demand: 

The National Centre for Addiction (OAC) coordinates the treatment demand data collection in Hungary and the national focal point analyses the data. Individual data are collected by the treatment centres and provided to the OAC, which processes the data (data cleaning and controls for double counting). The OAC then forwards the data to the national focal point, which carries out further analysis of raw data.

In 2014 the data for treatment demand was provided by 47 outpatient and 14 inpatient treatment units, 22 low-threshold units and seven treatment units in prisons. A total of 4 688 clients entered treatment, 3 120 of whom were new clients entering treatment for the first time. About 69 % of all treatment clients entered treatment in outpatient settings. About 60 % of all treatment clients entered treatment as an alternative to criminal procedure, and the remaining proportion entered treatment voluntarily.

In 2014 cannabis remained the primary substance of abuse among all treatment clients at 56 %, followed by 19 % for stimulants other than cocaine, 5 % for hallucinogens and 4% for opioids. Among new treatment clients, cannabis was reported as the primary substance of use by 61 %, followed by 19 % for stimulants and 2 % for cocaine and opioids. Cannabis users accounted for around 69 % of all clients who entered treatment as an alternative to criminal procedure. There are indications of a decrease in heroin use and related treatment demand and an increase in the number of clients entering treatment for new psychoactive substances (NPS) use since 2010. Estimates from the 2015 treatment facility survey, covering a sample of 28 units, indicate that almost half of clients demand treatment due to use of NPS (primarily synthetic cannabinoids and cathinones).

When looking at all treatment clients, those injecting their primary substance as their main route of administration accounted for 7 % of all and 3 % of new treatment clients. Among clients entering treatment for primary opioid use, 56 % of all treatment clients and 53 % of new treatment clients reported drug injection. While stimulants were injected less frequently, they remain the most often injected substance among new treatment clients. Injecting is more prevalent among clients reporting NPS as their primary drug when compared to those who use ‘classical’ stimulants.

In 2014 the mean age of all treatment clients was 27, while those entering treatment for the first time were, on average, 26. It is notable that those who reported an NPS as their primary drug were in general younger than other clients entering treatment. In terms of gender distribution, among all and new clients entering treatment in 2014 the majority (88 %) were male.

Look for Treatment demand indicator in the Statistical bulletin for more information. 

Drug-related infectious diseases

Content for drug-related infectious diseases: 

There are two primary sources of information on drug-related infectious diseases in Hungary — the National Registry of Infected Patients, run by the Department for Epidemiology of the National Centre for Epidemiology, and the special human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) and hepatitis surveillance database. In 2014 the National Centre for Epidemiology implemented the sixth nationwide prevalence survey on infectious diseases among people who inject drugs (PWID). In addition, in 2013 a voluntary diagnostic testing programme was offered by needle and syringe programmes (NSP) and specialised outpatient treatment centres in nine cities to detect HIV, hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) prevalence rates, and also risk behaviours among PWID.

According to the National Centre for Epidemiology, of the 44 acute cases of HCV registered in Hungary in 2014 (11 cases with a known transmission route), seven were due to injecting drug use. The number of registered acute HCV cases infected by drug injecting increased notably between 2006–13. For HBV, 67 acute cases were registered in 2014; however, the transmission route was only reported for 16 cases, of which two were linked to injecting drug use.

In 2014 there were 271 newly diagnosed HIV-positive cases in the general population. The incidence rate was 27 cases per million inhabitants. One HIV infection relating to injecting drug use was identified among all cases with a known risk factor, while the overwhelming majority of newly registered cases were linked to homo-/bisexual transmission.

On the basis of the national seroprevalence survey carried out in 2014 among 592 PWID, two HIV positive cases were found (0.34 %), while 48.7 % of 573 valid test results had antibodies to HCV, which is twice the rate measured in the previous years.

In 2013, among 233 voluntarily tested injecting drug user clients of service programmes in nine cities, HBV (HBsAg) prevalence of 2.2 % was registered.

There is a concern that injecting NPS may increase the risk of transmission of drug-related infectious diseases, in particular HCV, due to more frequent injecting and sharing of injecting paraphernalia. Thus HCV prevalence rate among those who reported recent injection of NPS was 74 %. Moreover, HCV prevalence seems to be higher among those who injected drugs in the last four weeks, had been injecting for a relatively short period (from two to four years), or those who had been injecting for more than nine years and lived in Budapest.

Look for Drug-related infectious diseases in the Statistical bulletin for more information. 

Drug-induced deaths and mortality

Content for drug-induced deaths: 

Since 2009 the data on drug-related direct and indirect deaths have been derived from the mortality module of the National Centre for Addiction (OAC) reporting system, which contains detailed information on each case, including toxicology results. The OAC then forwards the data to the national focal point, which carries out further analysis of raw data.

Overall, Hungary has reported between 20 to 30 overdose deaths annually for the past 10 years. The fluctuation in the number of deaths before 2010 was attributed to the purity of heroin. Availability of heroin was reduced significantly after 2010 and thus other opioids started to dominate in the structure of drug-related deaths. This is consistent with seizure and treatment data showing that the level of heroin injection has been decreasing. Furthermore, the presence of NPS alone or in combination with other drugs remains one of the emerging trends for drug-related deaths in Hungary. The situation is sensitive to the appearence of dangerous NPS, as in both 2013 and 2014 several newly marketed NPS abruptly lead to some fatal overdoses.

In 2014 a total of 23 drug-induced deaths were reported. Toxicology was known for all cases, and in half (12) opioids were involved, in combination with other substances, while the remaining cases were linked to amphetamines or NPS. With regard to distribution by age and sex, 21 were males and the mean age at the time of death was 34.

The drug-induced mortality rate among adults (aged 15–64) was 3.4 deaths per million, which is below the most recent European average of 19.2 deaths per million.

Look for Drug-related deaths in the Statistical bulletin for more information. 

Treatment responses

Content for treatment responses: 

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 the regional level are primarily provided by public bodies and, to a lesser extent, by non-governmental drug service providers. Drug treatment services are differentiated on the basis of type of services, namely medical or social services. Some treatment units provide only health or social services, while others provide mixed services. A clear separation exists between the financing, definition, regulation and inspection of social and health services. Medical types of drug treatment services are financed by the National Health Insurance Fund, with the exception of about 10 % of inpatient and outpatient institutions financed by the church or other organisations. The majority of social services for drug users are financed using a fixed financing model that may be supplemented with additional resources allocated via tendering.

Treatment is offered to drug users at various outpatient and inpatient facilities throughout Hungary. Facilities include addiction units and clinics, mental health units and clinics, rehabilitation and therapy centres, therapeutic communities and crisis intervention departments. The need to develop outpatient institutions specialising in treatment for drug addicts was identified, and the first services established, in the 1980s. In 2014 some 69 outpatient units; 14 inpatient units and seven treatment units in prisons were reported as delivering drug treatment services. Treatment services include specialised drug treatment, specialised addiction treatment or psychiatric treatment in general, social care and quasi-compulsory treatment as an alternative to criminal procedure, provided mostly by non-governmental organisations (NGOs). This latter intervention, however, is classed as an indicated prevention measure and does not fall under the healthcare definition. Inpatient care is offered by psychiatric departments, departments of addiction, crisis intervention departments and NGOs running therapeutic communities. Drug treatment institutes operating in Hungary have contracts with the National Health Insurance Fund. Long-term rehabilitation is mainly provided by NGOs. The services they deliver are only partially medical or healthcare-related, and are dominated by social and welfare elements such as work therapy and social reintegration. In 2013 a supported housing service was introduced and funded by the state. In 2010 the first four-week online self-help programme was launched for problem cannabis users. Although the programme is available throughout the country, face-to-face consultations, if needed, are offered at Blue Point’s outpatient treatment centres in Budapest.

Opioid substitution treatment (OST) has been available since 1994 (with methadone). It is provided in the scope of outpatient treatment services, but some inpatient treatment providers also provide the service. This form of treatment is not available in prisons. Two types of medication are used in Hungary in OST programmes: methadone maintenance treatment is financed by state, but its capacities are limited; buprenorphine-based medication may be prescribed and is financed by clients themselves. In 2014 OST was available from 15 service providers. The number of clients in OST in 2014 was 745, of whom 576 were on methadone (data from seven of 15 treatment centres). Buprenorphine/naloxone combination treatment was introduced in 2007 and accounted for 169 clients in 2014.

See the Treatment profile for Hungary for additional information. 

Harm reduction responses

Content for harm reduction responses: 

A harm reduction approach has been promoted in Hungary for many years. The National Anti-Drug Strategy, which entered into force in 2013, defines harm reduction as an entry point and integrated part of the entire treatment chain operating on the basis of a recovery-based approach. The National Office for Rehabilitation and Social Affairs funds the low-threshold services for PWID through a three-year contract with service providers selected through a tendering procedure. To be eligible for funding, the applicant should deliver at least two of the following basic services: psychosocial interventions, counselling services or street outreach. Needle and syringe exchange must be defined as a complementary service to be eligible for funding. Complementary funding for low-threshold activities may come from local governments and other tendering procedures of ministries. Delays in the tendering process and reductions in the availability of financial resources have affected the availability of injecting equipment and have resulted in reduced operating hours and temporary or permanent closure of some programmes since 2012. A number of low-threshold services provide counselling, referral to long-term treatment, social support and legal assistance. Needles and syringes are available across the country through 30 needle and syringe exchange programmes at fixed locations, a mobile unit (Budapest) and 15 street outreach programmes. In four cities, clean needles and syringes are also available from vending machines.

In addition to sterile needles and syringes and counselling on safer injecting, most programmes also provide alcohol pads, condoms and vitamins. Less than half of them provide sterile filters and sterile mixing containers.

In 2010–11 the growing prevalence of NPS injecting had caused an increased demand for syringes among drug users, as these substances are injected more frequently than classical illicit drugs. As a result, the number of distributed syringes increased when compared to earlier years. When financial resources declined in 2012, the level of provision could not be maintained. To mitigate the situation, a special grant was allocated by the Ministry of Human Capacities to procure syringes for needle and syringe programmes. The number of served clients attending services continued to increase up to 2013 (4 624). In 2014 about 461 000 syringes were distributed, representing an increase in provision compared to 2012–13, but remaining below 2011 levels. Client numbers reached 4 624 in 2013, but decreased slightly the year after (4 442), a drop that is attributed to the closure of the two largest needle and syringe programmes in Budapest in the second half of 2014. Latest data show that the injection of stimulants, mainly including NPS, is a common pattern among 86 % of clients attending NSPs in Hungary. A decline in the return rate of used syringes was observed in 2013–14.

See the Harm reduction overview for Hungary for additional information. 

Drug markets and drug-law offences

Content for Drug markets and drug-law offences: 

Hungary has traditionally been a transit country for heroin trafficked across the Middle East via the Balkan route to western Europe (Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Italy and France). However, a ‘heroin shortage’ pattern was observed in 2011–13 when very few heroin seizures of relatively small amounts were reported, compared to the period before 2010. Although the number of heroin seizures did not increase in 2014, a total of 70.06 kg of heroin was seized, which is the largest quantity reported since 2010.

Nigerian- and Albanian-led criminal groups play a central role in the importing, smuggling and distribution of cocaine in Hungary. In recent years the cocaine seized in Hungary had travelled in cars through Spain and the Netherlands. The first data on cocaine seizures were available in 2000, and the quantity seized increased in the following years, peaking at 94 kg in 2004 with large annual variations thereafter. In 2014 seized cocaine amounted to 39.65 kg, which is the largest quantity reported since 2004.

Synthetic illicit substances are smuggled from Belgium and the Netherlands, while China is a main source for NPS, with some precursors recently reported as originating also in Slovakia.

Cannabis is increasingly smuggled into Hungary by Vietnamese-led criminal groups from the Czech Republic, and recently from the Western Balkan countries.

With regard to domestic production, cannabis is produced mainly in small-scale plantations. In 2014 a total of 148 cannabis cultivation sites were discovered. Some domestic cultivation of opium poppy has been registered in the eastern parts of the country, but the substance produced is destined for Ukraine due to a lack of domestic demand for it. One illicit amphetamine production site and one NSP tableting site were seized in 2014.

In 2014 herbal cannabis remained the most frequently seized drug (2 058 seizures), followed by amphetamines (618 seizures of amphetamine and 55 seizures of methamphetamine) and ecstasy (275). In 2014 the quantity of cannabis resin seized continued to increase, but remained below the levels reported in 2009–11. The quantities of herbal cannabis and cannabis plants seized were below the levels reported in 2013. Following the record amount of amphetamine seized in 2013, the quantities seized in 2014 fell. Despite the increase in the number of ecstasy seizures in 2014 the quantity seized was lower than had been reported in 2013, when there had been a small number of large seizures.

The share of NPS among all seizure has increased steadily since 2010, and these substances were involved in nearly 60 % of all seizures in 2014. In 2013 herbal substances treated with synthetic cannabinoids and cathinone derivates were the most frequently seized substances with 3 401 and 910 seizures respectively.

In 2014 some 6 487 criminal proceedings related to illicit drugs or controlled NPS were registered, a further increase on the trend from 2007 to 2012. Among the offences, 46 % were related to the cultivation/production of drugs (ICCS (1) 060122 and 060123) and 37 % were related to use or possession for personal use. The remaining proportion of offences were linked to wholesale trading (ICCS 060121), street selling of minor quantities (ICCS 060121), other known supply (ICCS 060129) and other offences related to ‘inciting substance abuse’ and ‘aiding in the manufacture or production of illicit drugs’ (ICCS 06019).

Cannabis products were mentioned in 3 758 cases, followed by amphetamine (1 259 cases) and NPS (379 cases). It should be noted that in mid-2013 a new Criminal Code entered into force, and therefore all data reported for 2013–14 should be treated with caution.

(1) ICCS: UNODC (2015), International Classification of Crime for Statistical Purposes.

Look for Drug-law offences in the Statistical bulletin for additional data. 

National drug laws

Content for National drug laws: 

The new Criminal Code entered into force on 1 July 2013. The drug control sections have been organised to cover trafficking, possession, incitement of minors to use drugs or similar substances, assisting production, precursors, NPS and performance enhancement (doping).

Consumption was re-introduced as a criminal offence punishable by up to two years in prison (it had been deleted from the 2003 Code). Possession is still punishable by up to two years in prison if involving a small amount, but other penalties are now 1–5 years as a basic offence, increasing to 2–8 years if committed under certain circumstances, and 5–10 and 5–15 years if involving larger quantities. Supply is still punishable by up to two years if involving a small amount (now 1–5 years if committed under certain circumstances), and 2–8 years as a basic offence, rising to 5–10 and now 5–20 years or life if involving certain circumstances or large quantities respectively. Various lower maximum penalties for offences committed by addicts, introduced in 2003, were repealed; however, the court may take the perpetrator’s addiction into consideration when imposing the punishment. The option to suspend prosecution in the case of treatment is available to offenders committing drug-law offences only involving a small quantity (production, manufacture, acquiring, possession for personal use), and cannot be repeated within two years of a previous suspension.

In 2012 a Government Decree set up a formalised rapid assessment. This could leade to inclusion of the NPS in a Decree 55/2014 of the Minister of Human Capacities. Inclusion would mean temporary control for one year with the possibility of an extension for one more year (or until new information emerges). Accordingly, a new section of the 2013 Criminal Code provided for punishment of up to three years for manufacture and (since January 2014) 1–5 years for supply and up to three years for possession of more than a small amount (10 g) of NPS. The section penalising incitement of minors to use ‘a substance or agent that has a narcotic effect but is not classified as a drug’ is retained, though the maximum penalty has been reduced from three to two years.

Go to the European Legal Database on Drugs (ELDD) for additional information. 

National drug strategy

Content for National drug strategy: 

Hungary’s current National Anti-Drug Strategy 2013–20, ‘Clear consciousness, sobriety and fight against drug crime’, was adopted on 16 October 2013 (Parliament Resolution No. 80/2013).

The National Anti-Drug Strategy is based on five core values: the right to life, human dignity and health; personal and community responsibility; community activity; cooperation; and a scientific basis. It establishes objectives and development directions for three areas of intervention: health development and drug prevention; treatment, care and recovery; and supply reduction.

The Strategy also includes implementation criteria for human and social resources such as training, cooperation between institutions, financing, research and international relations, allowing monitoring and evaluation of the tasks. The strategy outlines indicators for monitoring its implementation and the organisations responsible for collecting information.

The Policy Program (action plan) of the Strategy was adopted by the Government in its Decree 2010/2015 (XII. 29) in December 2015. The Policy Program contains the actions anticipated for 2016. 

Coordination mechanism in the field of drugs

Content for Coordination mechanism in the field of drugs: 

The Inter-ministerial Coordination Committee on Drug Affairs (CICDA) and the Council on Drug Affairs (CDA) advise the Government and report to it on a yearly basis. Chaired by the Secretary of State for Social Affairs and Social Inclusion, the CICDA includes representatives from all relevant ministries and national institutions and (since 2013) the CDA represents NGOs acting in the field.

The National Drug Prevention Coordination Unit, part of the Department for Social and Child Welfare, handles the day-to-day coordination of the drug strategy. It is also tasked with policy development, coordination and implementation, and with overseeing the operation of the CICDA and the CDA.

The National Drug Prevention Office, part of the National Institute for Family and Social Affairs, supports the activities of the Coordination Forums on Drug Affairs (KEFs). It assists the Coordination Forums with programmes in the area of prevention and facilitates drug-related research and information dissemination.

KEFs coordinate activities at the local level. They are committees of 8–10 members (representatives of NGOs, health/law enforcement state services, local government, churches) that collect information, determine the most important risk groups, and define the targets of community-based interventions and options for treatment. KEFs must ensure that information about local services is available. There are almost 90 of them operating at the local, county and regional level.

Public expenditure

Content for Public expenditure: 

In Hungary, there is no specific budget attached to the drug strategy but every year ministries approve an overall budget that takes into account the main goals of the strategy. This budget, however, is estimated by authorities to represent not more than 4–6 % of the total drug-related expenditures. One study (1), following a well-defined methodology, estimated total drug-related expenditures for four years (2000, 2003, 2005 and 2007).

In 2007 the total drug-related public expenditure (2) represented 0.04 % of gross domestic roduct (GDP). The total expenditure was divided into four main areas (Table 1): law enforcement (75.3 %), prevention and research (10.5 %), treatment (10.4 %) and harm reduction (3.8 %).

Trend analysis shows that between 2000 and 2007 total drug-related expenditure remained stable as a percentage of GDP (between 0.04 % and 0.05 %). Law enforcement absorbed at least 66 % of these funds, while treatment and harm reduction together did not exceed 15 % of the total. As a consequence of the 2008 economic recession, both the structure and the proportion of GDP allocated to drug-related initiatives has most likely changed; however, recent data are not available.

Table 1: Total drug-related public expenditure, 2007.

Reuter’s classification (a)


Expenditure (thousand EUR)

% of total (b)

Law enforcement

29 381


Prevention and research

4 111



4 056


Harm reduction and other social services

1 497



39 045


% of GDP (b)

0.04 % (b)


(a)         P. Reuter (2004), Developing a framework government drug policy expenditure, EMCDDA, Lisbon.

(b)         EMCDDA estimations.

Source: National report of Hungary (2009).

(1) G. Hajnal (2009), ‘A kábítószerrel kapcsolatos költségvetési kiadások alakulása 2000 és 2007 között’, in K. Felvinczi and A. Nyírády, Drogpolitika számokban, L’Harmattan, Budapest, pp. 375–409.

(2) Some of the funds allocated by governments for expenditure on tasks related to drugs are identified as such in the budget (‘labelled’). Often, however, the bulk of drug-related expenditure is not identified (‘unlabelled’) and must be estimated by modelling approaches. The total budget is the sum of labelled and unlabelled drug-related expenditures.

Drug-related research

Content for Drug-related research: 

The coordinating body for drug issues in Hungary, the Ministry of Human Capacities, also coordinates drug-related research through an open tendering mechanism. The national focal point, which also conducts and initiates research, collects all research reports available in Hungary and disseminates their results via its website and newsletter. Information on the different research institutions and organisations is available here. Research results are usually available from public institutions, sponsors and researchers’ websites. Recent drug-related studies have focused primarily on the prevalence of drug use and on responses to the drug situation, but studies on the consequences of drug use and the use of new psychoactive substances, drug supply, market and methodology issues have also been mentioned.

See Drug-related research for more detailed information. 

Data sheet — key statistics on the drug situation

Content for Data sheet: 

        EU range      
  Year   Country data Min. Max.      
Problem opioid use (rate/1 000) 2010-11   0.48 0.2 10.7      
All clients entering treatment (%) 2014   4.2% 4% 90%      
New clients entering treatment (%) 2014   1.6% 2% 89%      
Purity — heroin brown (%) 2014 1 20.0% 7% 52%      
Price per gram — heroin brown (EUR) 2014   EUR 40 EUR 23 EUR 140      
Prevalence of drug use — schools (%) 2011   2.0% 1% 5%      
Prevalence of drug use — young adults (%) 2007   0.4% 0% 4%      
Prevalence of drug use — all adults (%) 2007   0.2% 0% 2%      
All clients entering treatment (%) 2014   1.8% 0% 38%      
New clients entering treatment (%) 2014   1.9% 0% 40%      
Purity (%) 2014   40.0% 20% 64%      
Price per gram (EUR) 2014   EUR 57 EUR 47 EUR 107      
Prevalence of drug use — schools (%) 2011   6.0% 1% 7%      
Prevalence of drug use — young adults (%) 2007   1.2% 0% 3%      
Prevalence of drug use — all adults (%) 2007   0.5% 0% 1%      
All clients entering treatment (%) 2014   12.5% 0% 70%      
New clients entering treatment (%) 2014   12.3% 0% 75%      
Purity (%) 2014   20.0% 1% 49%      
Price per gram (EUR) 2014   EUR 10 EUR 3 EUR 63      
Prevalence of drug use — schools (%) 2011   4.0% 1% 4%      
Prevalence of drug use — young adults (%) 2007   1.0% 0% 6%      
Prevalence of drug use — all adults (%) 2007   0.5% 0% 2%      
All clients entering treatment (%) 2014   1.7% 0% 2%      
New clients entering treatment (%) 2014   1.8% 0% 2%      
Purity (mg of MDMA base per unit) 2014   85 mg 27 mg 131 mg      
Price per tablet (EUR) 2014   EUR 5 EUR 4 EUR 16      
Prevalence of drug use — schools (%) 2011   19.0% 5% 42%      
Prevalence of drug use — young adults (%) 2007   5.7% 0% 24%      
Prevalence of drug use — all adults (%) 2007   2.3% 0% 11%      
All clients entering treatment (%) 2014   55.5% 3% 63%      
New clients entering treatment (%) 2014   61.2% 7% 77%      
Potency — herbal (%) 2014   7.2% 3% 15%      
Potency — resin (%) 2014   20.0% 3% 29%      
Price per gram — herbal (EUR) 2014   EUR 7 EUR 3 EUR 23      
Price per gram — resin (EUR) 2014   EUR 8 EUR 3 EUR 22      
Prevalence of problem drug use                
Problem drug use (rate/1 000) :   : 2.7 10.0      
Injecting drug use (rate/1 000) 2008-09   0.8 0.2 9.2      
Drug-related infectious diseases/deaths                
HIV infections newly diagnosed (cases / million) 2014   0.1 0.0 50.9      
HIV prevalence (%) 2014   0.3% 0% 31%      
HCV prevalence (%) 2014   48.7% 15% 84%      
Drug-related deaths (rate/million) 2014   3.4 2.4 113.2      
Health and social responses                
Syringes distributed 2014   460 977 382 7 199 660      
Clients in substitution treatment 2014   745 178 161 388      
Treatment demand                
All clients 2014   4 688 271 100 456      
New clients 2014   3 120 28 35 007      
All clients with known primary drug 2014   4 688 271 97 068      
New clients with known primary drug 2014   3 120 28 34 088      
Drug law offences                
Number of reports of offences 2014 2 6 487 537 282 177      
Offences for use/possession 2014   2 425 13 398 422      

Key national figures and statistics

Content for Key national figures and statistics: 

b Break in time series.

e Estimated.

p Eurostat provisional value.

: Not available.

1 Gross domestic product (GDP) is a measure of economic activity. It is defined as the value of all goods and services produced less the value of any goods or services used in their creation. The volume index of GDP per capita in Purchasing Power Standards (PPS) is expressed in relation to the European Union (EU-27) average set to equal 100. If the index of a country is higher than 100, this country's level of GDP per head is higher than the EU average and vice versa.

2  Expenditure on social protection contains: benefits, which consist of transfers in cash or in kind to households and individuals to relieve them of the burden of a defined set of risks or needs.

3 Unemployment rates represent unemployed persons as a percentage of the labour force. Unemployed persons comprise persons aged 15 to 74 who were: (a) without work during the reference week; (b) currently available for work; (c) actively seeking work.

4 Situation of penal institutions on 1 September, 2014.

5 Share of persons aged 0+ with an equivalent disposable income below the at-risk-of-poverty threshold, which is set at 60 % of the national median equivalised disposable income (after social transfers).

  Year Hungary EU (28 countries) Source
Population  2014 9 877 365 506 944 075 bep Eurostat
Population by age classes 15–24  2014 11.9 %  11.3 % bep Eurostat
25–49 35.6 %  34.7 % bep
50–64 20.5 %  19.9 % bep
GDP per capita in PPS (Purchasing Power Standards) 1  2014 68 100 Eurostat
Total expenditure on social protection (% of GDP) 2  2013 20.9 % : Eurostat
Unemployment rate 3  2015 7.5 % 9.4 % Eurostat
Unemployment rate of population aged under 25 years  2015 17.3 % 20.3 % Eurostat
Prison population rate (per 100 000 of national population) 4  2014 185  : Council of Europe, SPACE I-2014.1
At risk of poverty rate 5  2014 15.0 % 17.2 % SILC

Contact information for our focal point

Address and contact: 

National Institute for Health Development

H-1437 Budapest
Hungary Pf. 772/2
Tel. +36 13651540/134

Head of national focal point: Mr Gergely Horvath

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