International Day Against Drug Abuse


26th June is recognized as the International Day against Drug Abuse & Illicit Trafficking. United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on 7th December 1987, decided that the 26th June of every year would be recognized as International Drug Day. This year’s International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking focuses on the “critical need to invest in prevention”. By investing more resources in prevention, we can guide people, especially young people, away from drug use. We can reduce drug overdoses and the tragic loss of life they cause. Since drug problems are affecting the human race in various ways, it has become important to change our focus on prevention and treatment. Millions of people worldwide are struggling with substance abuse disorders or other drug abuse addictions. With this year’s theme being The Evidence is Clear Invest in Prevention, it’s clear that we as a society need to pay more attention to people who are at risk of developing a drug problem.

The United Nations is now focusing on establishing an evidence-based approach that will help in preventing drug abuse. To make this world drug abuse-free, a lot of cooperation, drug policies, and research is required. let’s also focus on respecting everyone’s human rights, and being empathetic, compassionate, and kind toward each other. As a global problem, drug trade has always been a debatable scenario. The first international conference on narcotic drugs was held in Shanghai in 1909. Gradually, a multilateral system to control the production, trafficking, and abuse of drugs was developed.

Three key international agreements have been established under the United Nations to tackle drug-related issues. The Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, adopted in 1961, focuses on coordinating global efforts to restrict the possession, use, and distribution of drugs strictly for medical and scientific purposes. It also aims to combat drug trafficking through international cooperation. The Convention on Psychotropic Substances, ratified in 1971, addresses the growing array of synthetic drugs by categorizing them based on their potential for abuse and therapeutic benefits. This agreement sets forth controls to regulate these substances internationally. The United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, finalized in 1988, introduces extensive measures to combat drug trafficking. These measures include provisions against money laundering and the diversion of precursor chemicals, alongside mechanisms for international collaboration such as extradition of traffickers and controlled deliveries. These conventions form the backbone of global efforts to manage and reduce the harmful effects of drug abuse and trafficking through coordinated international action.

The International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking holds significant importance in the global fight against drug-related issues. Recognized by the United Nations, this day raises awareness about the severe impact of drug abuse and addiction on individuals and societies worldwide. The UN is leading in combating these challenges through bodies like the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), established in 1997. The UNODC operates globally, working to combat illicit drugs and international crime through its numerous field offices worldwide. In 2016, the UN General Assembly convened a special session on drugs, highlighting the urgency and global commitment to addressing drug-related issues.

Each year, nearly 200,000 people worldwide are affected by illicit drug trafficking, underscoring the scale of the problem and the need for coordinated international efforts. The observance of the International Day serves to mobilize support from governments, international organizations, and communities to tackle these critical issues affecting peace, development, and societal well-being.

Participating in the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is vital for everyone, regardless of age or profession. Taking a pledge on this day can be as simple as advocating for a drug-free world. Here are practical steps you can take to raise awareness. Firstly, educate those around you about the mental and physical repercussions of drug abuse, share information about available treatment options and local support hotlines, use social media platforms to amplify messages against drug abuse, create impactful slogans to inspire others to join the cause, organize awareness sessions in schools or community centers to emphasize the importance of drug abuse prevention, encourage participation in art competitions like drawing and poster-making to engage students creatively and reach out to underserved communities to educate them about the dangers of drug abuse and available resources. These efforts can collectively contribute to building a safer and healthier society free from the devastating effects of drug abuse.

Let us unite in our efforts to combat drug abuse and illicit trafficking, ensuring a brighter, drug-free future for all. By raising awareness, educating others, and advocating for change, we can collectively make a significant impact in our communities and beyond. Together, let’s strive to protect lives, promote health, and build resilient societies that reject the devastating consequences of substance abuse.

Written By: Pamuditha Silva

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