7.6 Mechanisms of early detection and signposting of young people facing health risks
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With the help of the Act CXXXIV of 2012. on the suppression of underage smoking and on the retail trade of tobacco products (A fiatalkorúak dohányzásának visszaszorításáról és a dohánytermékek kiskereskedelméről szóló 2012. évi CXXXIV. törvény), the government radically altered the structure of the tobacco market in Hungary by reallocating concessions of tobacco selling rights and introducing strict regulations on young people's access to tobacco.
Tobbacco Control in Hungary Programme
The Ministry of Human Capacities (Emberi Erőforrások Minisztériuma) launhced a programme called Tobbacco Control in Hungary (Dohányzás Visszaszorítása Magyarországon) which is a comprehensive prevention programme for pre-school and school-aged children. Their organisation is the Hungarian Focal Point for Tobacco Control (Dohányzás Fókuszpont). The aims of the organisation includes:
'Implementing smoking prevention activities targeting youth and working out prevention programmes, collecting best practices, preparing cadastres and advising programmes for education institutions. Developing methodologies of national dissemination and participating in the implementation of these.'
They have made several programmes that draws the school-aged youth attention to the importance of a healthy, smoke-free lifestyle through a gaming software, portable touch-screen computers (PTSC) and a homepage, the 'Smoking is sticky' ('Ciki a cigi') that provides information on the harmful affects of smoking. They provide also a guide for smoking prevention education, training program and an interactive tool package that can be used in formal education, in grades 3-5. and 6-10, free of charge.
Use of alcohol
The §16/A of the Act CLV of 1997 on customer protection (Fogyasztóvédelemről szóló 1997. évi CLV. törvény 16/A §) states that it is forbidden to sell or serve alcoholic beverages to persons under 18 years of age, except for medicines prescribed by a doctor.
Use of drugs
The distribution of designer drugs through dealers and efficient online channels could be seen as a more serious problem for which there is little empirical research on young people and on the general population. However, the Media (média) has started to warn the public about the excessive use of herbal and crystal. Their popularity is based on their relatively low prices and easy access. In socially excluded communities (among marginalised urban youth and young people in underprivileged rural communities), there is also a growing trend towards the use of homemade drugs.
Research among young people indicates an increase in the intensity of daily or weekly multiple cannabis use. According to the 2014 Health Behaviour In School-Aged Children (referred hereinafter to as HBSC) ), almost a quarter (23.1%) of Grade 9 and 11 students have tried at least one of the illicit drugs and/or legal substances (total drugs). One fifth of the pupils (20%) tried illegal drugs and almost one tenth (9%) tried legal drugs abusively (alcohol with medication and/or medication and/or glues, solvents).
Prevention programmes in schools
The State Secretariat Responsible for Healthcare and the State Secretariat Responsible for Public Education launched a programme called 'Comprehensive health and mental development and addiction reducing programmes in schools' ('A teljeskörű egészségfejlesztés, a lelki egészség előmozdítását és a függőségek visszaszorítását célzó iskolai programok'). The overall aim of the programme is to reduce agressive behaviour in schools and addicition prevention through the education and physical, mental, methodological support of the teachers. It consists of four sub-programmes and the Hungarian School Sport Federation (Magyar Diáksport Szövetség) is responsible for the implementation.
One sub-programme is the 'Comprehensive health development in schools through prevention programmes' ('A teljeskörű iskolai egészségfejlesztés támogatása prevenciós programok megvalósításával'). The aim is
- to develop the physical and mental health of students,
- to prevent behavioural addiction,
- to prevent substances addiction,
- to prevent bullying and school violance.
The European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD)
ESPAD is a collaborative effort of independent research teams in more than 40 European countries and also the largest cross-national research project on adolescent substance use in the world. The overall aim of the project is to repeatedly collect comparable data on substance use among 15-16-year-old students in as many European countries as possible. According to ESPAD2019, in Hungary the most common drug was cannabis. After cannabis, the most commonly used drugs are legal or partially legal. The second was the pharmaceuticals, mainly tranquillisers/ sedatives.
Education institutions and child protection
The links between public education institutions and the system of child protection are set out in the Act CXC of 2011 on National Public Education (2011. évi CXC. törvény a nemzeti köznevelésről) and the Ministry of Human Capacities' decision no. 20/2012 (VIII. 31) on the operation of educational institutions and the use of names of public educational institutions [a Nevelési-oktatási intézmények működéséről és a köznevelési intézmények névhasználatáról szóló 20/2012. (VIII. 31.) EMMI rendelet].
The prevention and elimination of vulnerability is the responsibility of every teacher in the educational institution. Ensuring this activity is primarily the responsibility of the head of the institution for which there is a law enabling the institution to employ a child and youth protection lawyer to assist the school's pedagogues in child and youth work. The job descriptions of the child and youth protection officer, the rules of procedures for the tasks to be carried out, and the activities of prevention, disadvantaged and vulnerable children are regulated also in this decision.
Definitions of vulnerability
Vulnerability, defined in the Act CLIV of 1997 on Health (1997. évi CLIV. törvény az egészségügyről), includes only the threat to the optimal maintenance of the state of health. It does not contain any indications of causes, situations, risk factors or their severity. The Act does not specify cases of cooperation and signalling obligations, so it often happens, that medical secrecy is also used by professionals who are otherwise subject to reporting obligations.
The Act C of 2012 on the Criminal Code (2012. évi C. törvény a Büntető Törvénykönyvről) contains the definition of juvenile risk for the police and the related measures. The Act states that the purpose of the punishment or measure applied to juveniles is to ensure that the juvenile develops in the right direction and becomes a useful member of society, keeping in mind the education and protection of the juvenile when choosing the measure or punishment.
The Tobbacco Control in Hungary Programme
The main coordinator of the Programme is the Hungarian Focal Point for Tobacco Control (Dohányzás Fókuszpont) and they are in cooperation with the local offices of the Government Agencies and the Health Promotion Offices (Egészségfejlesztési Irodák).
The legislative framework for the implementation of school-based prevention programmes is given by the Ministry of Human Capacities' decision no. 20/2012 (VIII. 31) on the operation of educational institutions and the use of names of public educational institutions [a Nevelési-oktatási intézmények működéséről és a köznevelési intézmények névhasználatáról szóló 20/2012. (VIII. 31.) EMMI rendelet]. According to the regulation, the aim of health promotion is to ensure, that every child has a full-time health promotion activity that is effective in everyday life of the educational institution, which effectively develops the well-being and health.
The decree defines also behavioural addictions and the prevention of consumption of addictive drugs as defined tasks, so drug prevention activities can be implemented as an integral part of school health promotion. The provisions of the Ministry of Human Capacities' decree concern the development of physical, mental health, behavioural addiction and the prevention of the consumption of addictive drugs have entered into force on 1 September 2013.
The Hungarian Police (Magyar Rendőrség) has several local and national drug prevention programmes. Members of the organisation regularly give:
- drug-prevention lectures from primary school to universities,
- advertise drawing competitions,
- host thematic forums nationwide.
- the Parliament Decision no. 106/2009. (XII.21.) on the national strategic programme for the management of the drug problem (106/2009. (XII. 21.) OGY határozat a kábítószer-probléma kezelése érdekében készített nemzeti stratégiai programról), adopted the
- 'National Strategy for Solving the Drugs Problem' ('Nemzeti stratégia a kábítószer-probléma visszaszorítására'),
- the Drug Prevention Commettee of the Hungarian Defense Forces (a Magyar Honvédség Drogprevenciós Bizottsága).
Church-based and civil spheres
Many actors in the church-based and civil spheres focus on young people with drugs, alcohol or other mental illness. Some of the most important organizations are the following:
- RÉV Addicts Assistant Service (RÉV Szenvedélybeteg-segítő Szolgálat)
- Blue Point Drug Counselling Centre and Drug Therapy Foundation (Kék Pont Drogkonzultációs Központ és Drogambulancia Alapítvány).
The church-based maintained RÉV Addicts Assistant Service (RÉV Szenvedélybeteg-segítő Szolgálat) helps affected people to relinquish dependence, and their relatives and their environment to be able to support addicts through healing. Alcohol, drugs, gambling, drug addiction, eating disorders and other similar fights and problems are dealt with by qualified social workers, psychiatrists, psychologists, pastors, or patients who have already recovered.
The Blue Point Drug Counselling Centre and Drug Therapy Foundation (Kék Pont Drogkonzultációs Központ és Drogambulancia Alapítvány) has been a public benefit organization since 1997. The aim is to prevent, treat, and reduce the problems caused by addiction in relation to the individual, the family, and the society. Currently, they operate two ambulances in Budapest. In these two areas, teams are typically composed of social workers, addiction consultants, doctors, psychologists, sociologists, lawyers and communications professionals, and volunteers.
Endangered groups linked to institutions: early school leavers and schoolchildren, children in childcare facilities and juvenile delinquents, and vulnerable groups of people in communities such as vulnerable families, homeless youth, young people living in disadvantaged neighbourhoods and minorities, especially Roma youth.
Food-related illnesses are treated as priorities in the budget. The objective of the Act CIII of 2011 on Public Health Product Tax. Act (Neta Act) [a népegészségügyi termékadóról szóló 2011. évi CIII. törvény (Neta törvény)] is to impose special taxes on food products with high sugar, salt and certain methyl-xanthine (such as caffeine) content. The aim of the measure is to promote healthy nutrition, to encourage food industry to produce products with more favourable composition, and to improve healthcare services and public health programs. The collected tax provides funding for the National Health Insurance Fund (Egészségbiztosítási Alap).