|“Investing in balanced prevention as well as control of drug use and drug use disorders produces solid returns — saved lives, healthier populations, improved workforce participation and productivity, and reduced criminal justice costs.”
— UN Secretary-General António GuterresThe International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, or World Drug Day, is observed on June 26 every year to strengthen action and cooperation in achieving a world free of drug abuse.
The UN General Assembly through a resolution on December 7, 1987, decided to observe June 26 as the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is engaged in the fight against drugs and substance abuse and works to raise awareness regarding its ill effect on an individual and the society.
2021 theme: Share Facts on Drugs, Save Lives
The theme for this year is “Share Facts on Drugs, Save Lives”. The aim is to spread facts to fight misinformation regarding drug abuse. As part of the theme, the UNODC encourages everyone to share facts on drugs to help save the lives of those caught up in the trap of drugs and illicit trafficking.
Fight against misinformation
One of the major aspects of the theme of World Drugs Day is to combat misinformation. To do so, UNODC encourages individuals and the community to first learn or know the real facts on drugs and then share information from verified sources only.
This would help in mitigating the health risks associated with drugs, and provide solutions to tackle the problems related to drugs by opening scope to evidence-based prevention, treatment, and care.
Moreover, every year, the UNODC issues the World Drugs Report, which provides insight on statistics and facts obtained through official sources, research, and analysis.
Covid-19 and World Drugs Day
The advent of Covid-19 has taken the attention of people to prioritize health, hygiene and extend a helping hand to the community. This has resulted in a positive response as a growing sense of global community and solidarity continue to emerge for people associated with drug abuse and illicit trafficking.
Further, the increased awareness for Covid-19 conditions has created awareness on a massive scale in the fight against drugs too.
World Drugs Report 2021
Consisting of five separate booklets, the World Drug Report 2021 provides an in-depth analysis of the global drug markets, measurable effects and potential impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the world drug problem.
According to the UNODC World Drug Report 2021, an estimated 275 million people used drugs, and over 36 million suffered from drug-use disorders. Drug use alone was responsible for killing almost half a million people in the world in 2019.
The report is aimed at fostering greater international cooperation to counter the impact of the world drug problem on health, governance, and security, and in assisting the Member States in anticipating and addressing challenges that may arise in the near future.
India against drug abuse
PM Narendra Modi lauded the efforts of those working at the grassroots to eliminate the menace of drugs from our society. He said that every such effort to save lives is vital, as drugs bring with it darkness, destruction, and devastation.
In India, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) and Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MSJE), under the Government of India are involved in alcohol and drug demand reduction policies and drug de-addiction programmes (DDAP) in the country.
Drug de-addiction programme (DDAP)
Under the Drug de-addiction programme by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, activities to reduce the drug use-related problems in the country have been divided into two categories- supply reduction and demand reduction.
The supply reduction aims at reducing the availability of illicit drugs within the country and comes under the purview of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) and the Department of Revenue as the administrator of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985 and the Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act,1988.
On the other hand, the demand reduction activities focus upon awareness building, treatment, and rehabilitation of drug-using patients. These activities are run by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment as the nodal Ministry and to some extent by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
In addition to the above programmes, there are various e-health web-based programmes related to the prevention of substance abuse such as alcohol e-Help operated by National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre (NDDTC), AIIMS, Delhi and m-Cessation programme for tobacco cessation, initiated by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
Supported each year by individuals, communities and various organizations all over the world, this global observance has helped to raise awareness of the major problem that illicit drugs represent to society. However, the fight is a continuous one and requires the support of all.