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Harm reduction overview for Hungary

Map of Hungary

1. National context

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 (the current contract covers 2012–14) 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, information and prevention services, street outreach, or drop-in. 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 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 28 fixed needle and syringe exchange programmes, a mobile unit (Budapest) and 16 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, and eight locations in 2013 also provided acidifiers. Half of them provide sterile filters, while less than a third distributed sterile mixing containers. Since 2010 some needle and syringe programmes have offered voluntary testing for HIV, HCV and HBV in the framework of the voluntary diagnostic programme coordinated by the National Centre for Epidemiology.

In 2013, about 436 000 syringes were distributed, representing an almost unchanged level of provision compared to 2012 when the number distributed was reduced by 35 % due to reductions in budgets for community-based and low-threshold treatment of drug users. Monitoring data suggest that in Budapest restrictions in opening hours and a limiting of the number of syringes given out per visit have led to an increased frequency of contacts of drug users at NSPs and to the use of multiple NSP sites. A decline in the return rate of used syringes from 71 % in 2012 to 58 % in 2013 may also indicate increased levels of personal re-use or even sharing used injecting equipment. Following the opening of new low-threshold NSP facilities outside Budapest in 2012, more clients were reached in 2013, reflecting improved service coverage in that area.

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2. Responses to prevent and reduce drug-related infectious diseases

Needle and syringe programmes Country  data
Availability of  NSP programmes  Extensive
% NSP availability at NUTS3  75 %
Drug use equipment distributed at specialised drug agencies (standard prevention material)
availability of alcohol pads  Yes
availability of dry wipes  No
availability of containers  Yes
availability of water  No
availability of condoms  Yes
availability of foil  No

Sources:

Structured questionnaire 'Prevention and reduction of health-related harm associated with drug use' (SQ23/29), submitted in 2014.
For an explanation of terms used, see the definitions of terms.
Availability expert rating scale:

  • Full – nearly all persons in need would obtain it.
  • Extensive – a majority but not nearly all of them would obtain it.
  • Limited – more than a few but not a majority of them would obtain it.
  • Rare – just a few of them would obtain it.
Testing, vaccination and treatment of infections Country  data
Availability of Hepatitis C testing in the community  Limited
Availability of universal hepatitis B immunization programme  Yes
Hepatitis B vaccination programme specific for high risk groups  No
ARV treatment of HIV infection  :

Sources:

Structured questionnaire 'Prevention and reduction of health-related harm associated with drug use' (SQ23/29), submitted in 2014.
Availability expert rating scale:

  • Full – nearly all persons in need would obtain it.
  • Extensive – a majority but not nearly all of them would obtain it.
  • Limited – more than a few but not a majority of them would obtain it.
  • Rare – just a few of them would obtain it.
Health promotion responses Country  data
Availability of individual counselling programmes  Limited
Availability of programmes for practical advice and training on 'safer use/safer injecting'  Limited
Involvement of peer educators in the response to infectious diseases prevention  No

Sources:

Structured questionnaire 'Prevention and reduction of health-related harm associated with drug use' (SQ23/29), submitted in 2014.
Availability expert rating scale:

  • Full – nearly all persons in need would obtain it.
  • Extensive – a majority but not nearly all of them would obtain it.
  • Limited – more than a few but not a majority of them would obtain it.
  • Rare – just a few of them would obtain it.

Drug Treatment

See the country specific treatment profile.

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3. Responses to prevent and reduce drug-related deaths

Availability of drug-related death responses in the community Country  data
Availability of overdose information materials  Rare
Availability of individual overdose risk assessment (provided by trained drugs or health workers)  Rare
Availability of overdose response training  Rare

Sources:

Structured questionnaire 'Prevention and reduction of health-related harm associated with drug use' (SQ23/29), submitted in 2014.
Availability expert rating scale:

  • Full – nearly all persons in need would obtain it.
  • Extensive – a majority but not nearly all of them would obtain it.
  • Limited – more than a few but not a majority of them would obtain it.
  • Rare – just a few of them would obtain it.
Availability of drug consumption rooms Country  data
Number of facilities n.av.
Number of cities n.av.
Number of consumptions per year n.av.

Sources:

Structured questionnaire 'Prevention and reduction of health-related harm associated with drug use' (SQ23/29), submitted in 2011.
N.Av. stands for ‘The intervention is not available in the country’.

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4. Responses to prevent and reduce drug-related harms in recreational settings

Provision of specific responses implemented in night clubs and festivals Free, accessible, cold water Immediate First Aid ‘Chill out’ rooms Information material Outreach work Amnesty bins
Night clubs  Limited                    Rare  Limited   Limited  Rare Does not exist
Festivals  Extensive     Full           Limited  Limited  Limited  Does not exist

Sources:

Structured questionnaire 'Prevention and reduction of health-related harm associated with drug use' (SQ23/29), submitted in 2011.
Provision expert rating scale:

  • Full – in nearly all night clubs/festivals.
  • Extensive – a majority of night clubs/festivals provide the intervention (but not nearly all of them).
  • Limited – more than a few night clubs/festivals provide the intervention (but not a majority of them).
  • Rare – just a few night clubs/festivals provide the intervention.

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5. References and links

Related EMCDDA resources

 

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The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) is the reference point on drugs and drug addiction information in Europe. Inaugurated in Lisbon in 1995, it is one of the EU's decentralised agencies. Read more >>

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Page last updated: Tuesday, 02 June 2015