UNODC Kicks Off World Drug Day Celebrations in Uzbekistan with Online Youth Forum

The International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, also known as 'World Drug Day', is celebrated annually on 26 June. The theme of World Drug Day 2020 is "Better Knowledge for Better Care".

To kick off a series of public awareness raising events to mark the day in Uzbekistan and the wider Central Asia region, the United Nations the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) teamed up with the Youth Union of Uzbekistan to organize an online youth forum.

The aim of the forum, which gathered over 50 participants, was to discuss actions to be taken to prevent drug abuse and to address issues related to misuse of illicit drugs among young people.  The Youth Union of Uzbekistan facilitated the event from its Press Centre, bringing in experts from the National Information-Analytical Centre on Drug Control under the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Tashkent Institute of Advanced Medical Studies to answer questions from young people in attendance online from the Fergana Valley, the Republic of Karakalpakstan and other regions of  the country.

“This year we mark World Drug Day together with youth of Uzbekistan. We hope that participating youth will share the knowledge they gained today with friends and peers.” – said Mr. Akmal Jumaboyev, First Deputy Chairman of the Central Council of the Youth Union of Uzbekistan. “Such knowledge is especially important during the current quarantine period, when social isolation may provoke risky behavior, including substance abuse”.

Mr. Koen Marquering, UNODC Program Coordinator, presented key data on drug use around the world. “We are glad to support such dialogue platforms for young people, so that we can promote innovative and participatory solutions to drug problems based on scientific evidence.” – Mr. Marquering stated.

Information about prevention, treatment and care, the role of families and tangible steps we can all take to prevent drug use were presented by Ms. Saodat Jumanova, Leading Specialist from the National Information-Analytical Centre on Drug Control, and Mr. Furqat Bakhromov, Doctor from the Tashkent Institute of Advanced Medical Studies, who facilitated a quiz and question and answer session with the youth in attendance.

The Youth Forum on the occasion of World Drug Day opened a series online dialogue platforms organized within the framework of the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund Project “Youth for Social Harmony in the Fergana Valley”. This initiative, which UNODC implements jointly with UNDP and UNESCO, focuses on young people as a fast-growing demographic and the future of the country and aims to ensure that they are not left behind in the context of the rapid changes linked to the reform process in Uzbekistan. The project provides timely support to the implementation of the country’s youth policy and is innovative by introducing, for the first time, life skills and civic engagement as catalysts for sustainable development and peace in Uzbekistan.