The International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is marked annually on 26 June to strengthen action and cooperation in achieving the goal of a world free of drug abuse. This day recognises the severe impact that illicit drugs have on health, development, peace, and security. By resolution 42/112 of 7 December 1987, the United Nations’ General Assembly decided to observe this day as an expression of its determination to strengthen action and cooperation to achieve the goal of an international society free of drug abuse.
World Drug Day is used to stimulate a sense of responsibility among people around the world, especially young people and teenagers. According to the latest World Drug Report, around 269 million people used drugs worldwide in 2018, which is 30 per cent more than in 2009, while over 35 million people suffer from drug use disorders. For more than two decades, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has been helping make the world safer from drugs, organised crime, corruption and terrorism. They are committed to achieving health, security, and justice for all by tackling these threats and promoting peace and sustainable well-being as deterrents to them.
Hence, the theme for the 2021 International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is “Share Facts on Drugs, Safe Lives” aims at combating misinformation and promotes sharing the facts on drugs — from health risks and solutions to tackle the world drug problem, to evidence-based prevention, treatment, and care. COVID-19 has brought unprecedented public awareness on health, protective measures for staying healthy, and most importantly, and on protecting each other. A growing sense of global community and solidarity continues to emerge, as does the need to ensure health care for all.
We, at the World Assembly of Youth (WAY), tackle drug abuse as one of our youth issues so as to help young people to arise and extinguish the use of illegal drugs. Through our activities and campaigns we call upon all young people to stand for a drug free generation. We also empower youth leaders and organisations to collaborate together to achieve a drug free generation. 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.
The youth need to be empowered to take control of their lives and not let drugs control them. 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 shall continue to encourage young people, and member organisations to get involved in the social media campaign to mark this day using #ShareFactsonDrugs #SaveLives