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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.

According to the UNODC, nearly 200 million people are using illicit drugs such as cocaine, cannabis, hallucinogens, opiates and sedative hypnotics worldwide. In December 1987 the UN General Assembly decided to observe June 26 as the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. The UN was determined to help create an international society free of drug abuse. This resolution recommended further action with regard to the report and conclusions of the 1987 International Conference on Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

The theme for 2018 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.

We at the World Assembly of Youth (WAY), we tackled drug abuse as one of our youth issues so as to help young people to arise and extinguish the use of illegal drugs. We empower youth leaders and organizations to collaborate together to achieve drug free zone. The collaboration is needed to implement new ideas and strategies to combat drug abuse including improvement of policies which support the achievement towards a Drug Free Generation. One of our efforts was the 8th Melaka International Youth Dialogue, ‘Towards a Drug Free Generation’ which elevated not only awareness but also improvements in attaining Drug Free Generation.

We also believe that something has to be done as a matter of national priority to restore the social fabric of our nation before it is too late to correct the situation from deteriorating further. The youth need to be empowered to take control of their lives and not let drugs control them. Philip K. Dick said “Drug misuse is not a disease; it is a decision, like the decision to step out in front of a moving car. You would call that not a disease but an error of judgment”.

On this day, let us remain 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.

We call all young people to stand for a drug free generation!