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Drug treatment overview for Hungary

Map of Hungary

1. National context

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 rehabilitation and therapy centres, psychiatric departments, 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 2013 some 83 service providers were reported to deliver drug treatment services: 66 outpatient units; 14 inpatient units and 3 treatment units in prisons. 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. Since 2013 the availability of treatment as an alternative to criminal procedure has been limited to one occasion in a two-year period. 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.

The first methadone maintenance treatment programme was launched in Hungary in 1994. By 2013 it was available in nine institutions in seven towns. The number of clients in opioid substitution treatment (OST) in 2013 was 786, of whom 612 were on methadone (data from nine of 11 treatment centres). Buprenorphine/naloxone combination treatment was introduced in 2007 and accounted for 174 clients in 2013.

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2. Treatment registries and monitoring systems

On 9 May 2006, TDI-based data collection at treatment centres was officially introduced through Regulation 20/2006 (V.9) of the Ministry of Health. Since then, treatment centres with a high client turnover can make use of specific offline software to record clients’ data (and later transmit them electronically via the internet to the National Institute for Addiction), while centres with a lower number of client visits can do so directly online. This data collection system is applied not only in treatment centres in the field of health care, but also at low-threshold agencies and treatment units in prisons. However, data about addiction treatment carried out by general practitioners are currently not collected. From January 2007 onwards, the Hungarian Treatment Demand Indicator system is fully compatible with EMCDDA reporting standards. 

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3. Treatment demand

Table 1: Number of clients entering treatment in Hungary by year
Clients in treatment 2010 2011 2012 2013
Number of all clients entering treatment 4543 4783 3885 3985
Number of all clients entering treatment with known primary drug 4543 4783 3885 3985
% of which for opioid use 8.5 6.8 6 5.9
% of which for cocaine use 1.9 1.6 2 2.0
% of which for cannabis use 71.1 69.4 66 61.0
% of which for stimulants use (other than cocaine) 11.7 12.9 12 17.5
Number of new clients entering treatment 3042 3222 2574 2552
Number of new clients entering treatment with known primary drug 3042 3222 2574 2552
% of which for opioid use 2.5 2.3 2 2.1
% of which for cocaine use 2.0 1.6 2 2.4
% of which for cannabis use 80.3 77.3 75 70.0
% of which for stimulants use (other than cocaine) 10.9 12.2 11 17.0
Notes:
The variation across time, in particular with regard to the absolute numbers of clients in treatment, should be interpreted with caution as coverage data may have changed over time. For further information on coverage details please refer to the relevant EMCDDA Statistical Bulletin.
For an explanation of terms used, see the definitions of terms.
Sources:

Reitox national reports 2014 and TDI tables.
EMCDDA Statistical Bulletin 2015.

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4. Treatment provision

Table 2: Opioid substitution treatment provision in Hungary
Opioid substitution treatment 2010 2011 2012 2013
Number of clients in opioid substitution treatment 1031 639 637 786
of which with methadone 678 510 494 612
of which with buprenorphine 353 129 143 174
Notes:
For a detailed European overview please see the EMCDDA Statistical Bulletin 2015 (HSR section).
‘N. Av.’ stands for ‘No information available’.
For an explanation of terms used, see the definitions of terms.
Sources:
Standard Table 24 (ST24) on 'Treatment availability' submitted in 2014.
Table 3: Year of official introduction of opioid substitution treatment substances in Hungary
Applied substances in opioid substitution treatment Officially introduced in
Methadone (MMT) 1995
Buprenorphine (HDBT) N.App.
Heroin assisted treatment,including as trials N.App.
Slow-release morphine N.App.
Buprenorphine/naloxone combination 2007
Notes:
For a detailed European overview please see the EMCDDA Statistical Bulletin 2015 (HSR section).
‘N. App.’ stands for ‘Not applicable’.
For an explanation of terms used, see the definitions of terms.
Sources:
Reitox national reports.
Table 4: Legal framework of opioid substitution treatment in Hungary
Legal framework of opioid substitution treatment Methadone Buprenorphine
Do office-based medical doctors have the right to initiate the prescription of substitution treatment? N.App. N.App.
Do specialised medical doctors have the right to initiate the prescription of substitution treatment? N.App. N.App.
Notes:
For a detailed European overview please see the EMCDDA Statistical Bulletin 2015 (HSR section).
For an explanation of terms used, see the definitions of terms.
'Specialised medical doctors' refers to specifically trained or accredited office-based medical doctors.
Sources:
Structured Questionnaire on 'Treatment programmes'(SQ27P1), submitted in 2014.

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5. References and links

Related EMCDDA resources

 

External links

Please note that the EMCDDA is not responsible for the content of external sites.

Treatment inventories

Treatment research centres

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About the EMCDDA

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: Friday, 22 May 2015