Budapest has seen a major change in the drug market since 2009: Heroin use has declined to almost zero, while thousands of people are injecting new psychoactive substances – synthetic stimulants produced in China and India. These drugs are injected more frequently, 10-15 times a day. Thousands of marginalised drug injectors, many of them Roma, live in slum districts, with no access to health services, and tend to inject in shadowy places, parks and abandoned buildings. Discarded needles are a cause of serious public concern, and the sharing of syringes and needles leads to infections. Between 2011 and 2014, among injecting drug users, the rate of hepatitis C infections almost doubled.
Unfortunately, local decision-makers have failed to recognise the real causes of the problem, and instead blamed needle and syringe programs for increasing street drug use; as a result, two of these programs were closed last year. The solution does not lie in closing down health services which are trying to help people – but in supporting them to create a clean and safe environment where drug users can go, instead of shooting up on the streets. Budapest needs a drug strategy based on prevention, treatment, harm reduction and law enforcement; and in addition, a drug coordinator and a budget to implement the strategy. Please help us change drug policies and sign our petition!
To learn more about the situation in Hungary, watch the movie by Drugreporter
If you support our campaign for making our cities safer, please take action and sign the petition!