Statement from Mr Yury Fedotov,
Executive Director of UNODC
on International Day against
Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking

26 June 2014

Illicit drugs threaten people's health and welfare. Up to 200,000 people die every year due to illicit drugs; but drugs do not just affect the user, they cause tremendous hardship and misery to families and loved ones.

Drug use disorders undermine close relationships, damage home lives, including those of children, and can ruin education and employment opportunities. Their impact is felt in communities, criminal justice systems and across society. 

UNODC's theme for this year's International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking offers a message of hope: Drug use disorders are preventable and treatable.

Those who suffer from drug use disorders can be supported through evidence-based treatment, and many of those who die, do so from overdoses that are preventable. Children and young people must also be educated on the dangers of illicit drugs.

My message today has three components.

  • First. Sustained success against illicit drugs requires a balanced, cooperative, and integrated approach founded on the conventions that addresses both supply and demand reduction;
  • Second. A balanced approach includes comprehensive measures focused on prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and social protection and cohesion; and
  • Third. Science holds the key. UNODC is bridging the gap between science and practice by fostering a dialogue between policy makers and the scientific community.

Together these elements form part of UNODC's global mission to promote and support access to drug dependence treatment and care services and HIV prevention, for people who use drugs, in line with human rights standards.

On the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, it is important to remember that drug use disorders are preventable and treatable. That, where there is help, there is also hope.

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