26 June World Drug Day marked in Afghanistan 

26 June 2013, Kabul -  Echoing the global topic "Make health your new high in life", the World Drug Day (WDD)was marked in Afghanistan under the auspices of the Afghan Counter Narcotics Directorate (CND), UNODC provincial offices, and UNAMA, through the sport events, across the provinces of Kandahar, Badakhshan, Nangahar, Herat and Balkh.

These events underlined the importance of the health. Nearly one million Afghans, between 15-64 years of age,are affected by drug use, says the UNODC Drug Survey 2009.

"The human suffering of Afghanistan's drug problem is not only felt in the streets of the world capitals.  It is creating havoc among its own citizens, dependent on a daily dose of opium and heroin above all - but also cannabis, painkillers and tranquilizers," said UNODC's Representative in Afghanistan, Jean-Luc Lemahieu. "Afghanistan is confronted by one of the highest levels of addiction in the world."

Therefore, the special attention, during provincial events, was given to youth, the most vulnerable to narcotics abuse in Afghanistan. During the events, the brochures and other public awareness material with anti-drugs messaging was distributed to the participants. The local media covered the events, reaching to the indirect beneficiaries in the various provinces.

In the provinces, football matches were organized among the youngsters. Some football matches were held under the slogans: "We don't want poppy,  we want to live safe, poppy is the main adversity", "No to Drugs", " Make health your 'new high' in life". The dresses of the players has UN and CND logos. In some provinces such as Kandahar and Jalalabad children and adults participated in the karate competition, dressed in the sports gear decorated with UNODC logo and slogans.

UNODC notes that addiction also poses a high social and economic cost, unlikely to be borne by the country's current public budget. Currently, only ten per cent of drug users had received any form of drug treatment - an issue of major concern.

"More than 700,000 Afghans have no access to drug treatment. It is a silent and creeping tragedy and in name of international solidarity, I do invite the nations that are concerned about Afghanistan's efforts to curb drug cultivation to help it as well overcome its drug-related health crisis," said Mr.Lemahieu.