Hungary Country Drug Report 2017

Drug laws and drug law offences

National drug laws

The new Criminal Code came 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, new psychoactive substances (NPS) and performance enhancement (doping).

Consumption was reintroduced as a criminal offence, punishable by up to two years in prison (it had been deleted from the 2003 Criminal Code). Possession is still punishable by up to two years in prison if it involves small quantities, but other penalties are now one to five years for a basic offence, increasing to two to eight 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 if they involve certain circumstances and life imprisonment if large quantities are involved. Various lower maximum penalties for offences committed by drug users, introduced in 2003, were repealed in 2013; however, the court may take the perpetrator’s drug use into consideration when imposing punishment.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 is not available within two years of a previous suspension.

Legal penalties: the possibility of incarceration for possession of drugs for personal use (minor offence)

NBYear of data 2015.

Reported drug law offences and offenders in Hungary

NBYear of data 2015.

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

Drug law offences

Drug law offence (DLO) data are the foundation for monitoring drug-related crime and are they are also a measure of law enforcement activity and drug market dynamics; they may be used to inform policies on implementation of drug laws and to improve strategies. The 2015 statistical data on DLOs from Hungary indicate that almost half of them are related to cannabis; the next most prevalent DLOs are those related to stimulants. Since 2012, when a criminal liability for NPS offences was introduced, the proportion of NPS-related supply offences has increased among all supply-related DLOs. In 2015, the majority of DLOs were use/possession related.

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Methodological note: Analysis of trends is based only on those countries providing sufficient data to describe changes over the period specified. The reader should also be aware that monitoring patterns and trends in a hidden and stigmatised behaviour like drug use is both practically and methodologically challenging. For this reason, multiple sources of data are used for the purposes of analysis in this report. Caution is therefore required in interpretation, in particular when countries are compared on any single measure. Detailed information on methodology and caveats and comments on the limitations in the information set available can be found in the EMCDDA Statistical Bulletin.