Welcome to HCLU’s Drug Policy Program Website!
Since its inception in 1994 the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU) has been a leading NGO in the field of drug policy reform advocacy in Hungary. Patterned after the successful model of the American Civil Liberties Union, HCLU provides legal aid service for vulnerable populations, such as drug users, psychiatric patients and people living with HIV/AIDS in addition to its drug policy reform activities. Since 1994 HCLU attorneys have assisted over 4,000 clients, most of whom were arrested for simple possession of illicit substances. Many of these clients have been subjected to severe violations of their human rights and privacy rights at the hands of Hungarian authorities.
In 1998 the HCLU Drug Policy Program expanded its legal aid services beyond individual clients and now assists harm reduction service providers and outpatient drug treatment clinics in addition to individuals. We currently provide legal assistance to arrested methadone doctors, street outreach workers and needle exchange program operators.
HCLU also arranges conferences and provides legal training for substance abuse treatment providers. Our publications, two of which are available in English, focus on core questions of Hungarian Drug Policy, including the benefits of harm reduction (Harm Reduction Programs in Hungary, 2003) and the impact of intravenous drug use (Intravenous Drug Use and Public Health in Hungary, 2005). To compliment our legal aid services we also advocate for more sensitive drug policies through both governmental lobbying and media commentary.
HCLU recently started a new project which aims to monitor all drug related information in the Hungarian media. This project involves collecting anything published or broadcast in the media on drugs, including articles, reports, and radio and television programs. All media information is checked for correctness and when incorrect information or false assertions are found HCLU publishes responses including commentary and references to accurate and credible data.
drug policy program coordinator
ISTVÁN GÁBOR TAKÁCS
video advocacy program director
mediamonitor program coordinator
EDPI Program Coordinator
HCLU legal aid service