The Hungarian government adopted a policy programme for 2017-18 in connection with the National Anti-Drug Strategy 2013-20. The policy programme seeks to support health promotion and drug prevention, giving priority to the implementation of universal, selective and indicated programmes. It aims to involve families and communities, reaching vulnerable target groups (e.g. child protection) and taking into account special considerations (e.g. disadvantaged people).
In Hungary, prevention activities are mainly financed by the state-supported annual grant system. Recently, its spending in the field of selective prevention has been aimed at increasing health awareness through tailored health communication to the target groups.
Prevention interventions encompass a wide range of approaches, which are complementary. Environmental and universal strategies target entire populations, selective prevention targets vulnerable groups who may be at greater risk of developing substance use problems and indicated prevention focuses on at-risk individuals.
In Hungary, environmental prevention agencies have focused in recent years on the regulation of tobacco availability and the restriction of smoking in public places.
Universal prevention activities are mainly implemented in educational settings and mostly run by non-governmental organisations with state funding. The police and the Hungarian army are actively involved in prevention activities in educational settings. In schools, only accredited programmes can be implemented by external prevention service providers. In recent years, a shift from one-way information provision towards interactive programmes that attempt to influence the attitudes and beliefs of the target audience has been noted. Nevertheless, a recent survey among young Hungarians attending high-school drug prevention programmes in the last 5 years found that the vast majority participated in lecture-type activities, with few participating in interactive activities such as games, drama or sports. According to the respondents, most drug prevention programmes focused on raising awareness of the dangers of drugs or emphasising that drug use was prohibited. Less than half of the programmes educated participants on how to say no to drug use. About a third of the students were educated about safer nightlife or on how to help drug-using peers.
Selective prevention activities in Hungary target young people living in state care, prisons and disadvantaged neighbourhoods, as well as homeless young people, pregnant women and families with substance use problems.
Indicated prevention programmes aim to strengthen the family system and develop parental skills among at-risk young people, students with special needs, and those living in families affected by drug use. Workplace prevention programmes are rare.