Last year, Drugreporter gave a detailed account of the attack on harm reduction in Budapest, which resulted in the closure of the two largest needle and syringe programs. This year, we have produced a movie, based on interviews with key professionals and drug users, about what has changed on the streets of the District 8 of Budapest since then. Watch our video with English subtitles! Despite the fact that both the EU drug strategy and the Hungarian national drug strategy approves needle and syringe programs, and aims to scale them up, access to these serices has been halved since 2014, when two programs were closed.
Many forget that harm reduction is not only about harm reduction, but is an entry-point to other services. Thousands of injecting drug users are now not reached by any kind of services – they are in fact invisible to the treatment system. We don’t even know the epidemiological situation - that is, whether we have an HIV epidemic among them or not. The only way to reach out to these people, with HIV and hepatitis C testing, was through needle exchange. According to the latest figures, the prevalence of hepatitis C has doubled between 2011 and 2014, and it is likely that the process is now accelerating.
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