Cannabis continues to be the drug of choice for drug users in Hungary, according to a fresh report by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) released on Tuesday.
The 2017 report was based on national estimates and reported numbers through the EMCDDA indicators. The EMCDDA surveyed the 28 EU member states along with Norway and Turkey for its study.
According to the report, cannabis is mostly used by 18-34-year-olds in Hungary.
However, the report says the latest data indicate that that cannabis use is declining among young adults. At the same time, ecstasy, cocaine and amphetamine use has been on the rise since 2007.
The report found that demand for new psychoactive substances is also growing.
It also found that alcohol use is prevalent among Hungarian high school students and that heavy episodic drinking was higher here than the average for all the countries surveyed.
The report’s data on drug-related infectious diseases indicate that the number of newly-registered HIV cases has increased since 2011, but only some of these are related directly to injection drug use. At the same time, the number of acute hepatitis C infections nearly doubled between 2006 and 2013 but has since shown a downward trend.
Over the past 10 years, Hungary has reported between 20 and 30 drug-induced deaths annually. The EMCDDA found that the majority of victims are male and the average age at the time of death is 33 years.
The report also covers drug use among prison inmates and indicates that 30-40 percent of inmates have used illegal drugs — mostly cannabis — at some point in their lives prior to their imprisonment. The study found that 14 percent of inmates also use drugs in prison.
As regards harm reduction interventions, the study said that needles and syringes are available throughout the country through needle and syringe exchange programmes that can also include counselling on safer injecting.
Data from specialised drug treatment centres shows that the number of clients seeking treatment for new psychoactive substance use has been growing while demand for heroin-related treatment has been decreasing since 2010. Two out of ten clients seeking drug treatment are women, the study found.