INTERNATIONAL DAY AGAINST DRUG ABUSE AND ILLICIT TRAFFICKING
26 June 2017
By resolution 42/112 of 7 December 1987, the General Assembly decided to observe 26 June as the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking as an expression of its determination to strengthen action and cooperation to achieve the goal of an international society free of drug abuse.
Supported each year by individuals, communities and various organizations all over the world, this global observance aims to raise awareness of the major problem that illicit drugs represent to society.
Building on the success of last year, the theme for 2017 is: “Listen first – listening to children and youth is the first step to help them grow healthy and safe.” It is an initiative to increase support for prevention of drug use that is based on science and is thus an effective investment in the well-being of children and youth, their families and their communities.
The UN General Assembly held a Special Session (UNGASS) on drugs in April 2016. This Special Session marked an important milestone in achieving the goals set in the policy document of 2009 “Political Declaration and Plan of Action on International Cooperation towards an Integrated and Balanced Strategy to Counter the World Drug Problem”, which defined action to be taken by Member States as well as goals to be achieved by 2019.
The outcome document recommends measures to address demand and supply reduction, and to improve access to controlled medicines while preventing diversion. The recommendations also cover the areas of human rights, youth, children, women and communities; emerging challenges, including new psychoactive substances; strengthening international cooperation; and alternative development. The text puts new emphasis on proportionate national sentencing policies and practices for drug-related offences, and features a strong focus on prevention and treatment.
THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF UNITED NATIONS OFFICE ON DRUGS AND CRIME (UNDOC) SPEAKS
Statement of the Executive Director on the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, 26 June 2017
The International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking recognises the severe impact that illicit drugs have on health, development, peace and security. Around 190,000 people die due to illicit drugs every year. But the damage visited upon lives and communities does not stop there. Drug use damages health in the form of debilitating HIV, hepatitis and tuberculosis, while drug trafficking nourishes money laundering, and deadly terrorism. Corruption, the great enabler of organized crime, exists throughout the drug supply chain.
In a collective response to these challenges, last year, countries unanimously agreed on an outcome document of the UN General Assembly Special Session containing over 100 recommendations to counter the world drug problem. These recommendations, forged by international consensus, stress the need for affordable science-based treatment and care, especially in prisons and for measures reducing the spread of HIV and other infections.
The recently released World Drug Report 2017 examines another worrying phenomenon: the nexus between drugs, crime and terrorism and reveals a shifting pattern of relationships. To use just one example, terrorists and non-state armed groups profit from the drug trade. By some estimates, up to 85 per cent of opium cultivation in Afghanistan occurs in Taliban-influenced territory. As new threats appear, including spreading methamphetamine and new psychoactive substances, old ones continue to thrive. Business models are evolving too, with cybercrime and the darknet increasingly playing a role.
Once viewed as a marginal actor on the development stage, drugs and crime are now viewed as a disturbing obstruction to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, particularly Goals 3 on health and Goal 16 on peaceful societies. Our response is to work closely with partners to prevent drugs and crime not simply profiting from, but also fuelling, the instability that undermines development, peace, and human rights.
UNODC, on this day, remains committed to peacefully and effectively addressing the challenge of illicit drugs based on the international drug control conventions, and their key principle of protecting the health and welfare of humankind.