26 th June 2015 World Drug Day (WDD) Celebrations in Afghanistan

The United Nations International Day against Drugs is celebrated internationally on 26 June with the aim of raising awareness of the harm illicit drugs present to society. In Afghanistan, the day was celebrated in the capital, Kabul, as well as in the provincial centres of Kandahar, Herat, Balkh, Nangarhar and Badakhshan Provinces.

Celebrations were jointly organised by the Ministry of Counter Narcotics (MCN) and UNODC's Country Office for Afghanistan with over 5,000 people from all walks of life participating. Stadiums and other venues were decorated with pictorial and non-pictorial anti-drug messages and sports events, including football and volleyball matches, were played among prominent teams to draw attention to the messages. Karate was also a key attraction whereby children and adults demonstrated their skills. Speeches were delivered by professional cadres, religious scholars, medical doctors, high ranking government officials, high profile personalities and civil society leaders and elders.

 With over one million people now suffering from drug use in Afghanistan, speakers' messages focussed on the "National Mobilization against Narcotics" initiative being launched by MCN and UNODC as well as on the MCN theme of "the menace of drugs destroying human being's health which is the gift and blessing of Allah (SWT)". The negative impact of drugs on security, stability, development and democracy was also highlighted in the context of this year's slogan: "Let's Develop Our Lives, Our Communities and our Identities without Drugs" with the Afghan proverbial saying "if we do not eliminated drugs, they will eliminate us" being reiterated.

Participants also called upon national and international stakeholders to focus on curbing narcotics and to assist MCN reduce the cultivation, production, trafficking and abuse of illicit drugs. Thousands of brochures, poster and anti-drugs messages were distributed to participants.

 Local media was also active with events being covered by local radio and TV stations, ensuring that millions of Afghans were exposed to CN messaging around the country. Religious scholars offered prayers for peace and security in Afghanistan as well as for the reduction of drug use within the country.