WHO and Ministry of Narcotics Control Pakistan partnered with UNODC to Launch the World Drug Report 2019 and Commemorated International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking

Islamabad, 26 June 2019. Today the Ministry of Narcotics Control, Government of Pakistan; Anti -   Narcotics Force; and UNODC Country Office Pakistan in partnership with the World Health Organization jointly launched the World Drug Report 2019, and commemorated the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking with a campaign and series of events across the country aimed at raising awareness of the major problem that illicit drug use represents to society and particularly to young people.

The launch event was attended by the diplomatic community including Ambassadors, their deputies, drug liaison officers, senior government officials, UN Agency Heads and colleagues, civil society, and the media.

The Advisor, Drug Demand Reduction, Prevention, and Treatment gave a presentation on the key findings of the Report; highlighting the fact that improved research and more precise data have revealed the adverse health consequences of drug use to be more severe and widespread than believed till now. Globally, some 35 million people, up from an earlier estimate of 30.5 million, suffer from drug use disorders and require treatment services. Colleagues from UNODC gave the presentation on the latest key findings regarding illicit drugs use. (Link to World Drug Report: https://wdr.unodc.org/wdr2019/)

Secretary Ministry of Narcotics Control Mr Saleemi (PSP) emphasized 'the day reminds us that it is our moral duty to endeavour to save our near and dear ones from the curse of narcotic drugs'.  He stated that 'The Ministry for Narcotics Control is working vigorously to rid Pakistan of the menace of narcotics; however complete elimination of this evil needs concerted efforts from all segments of society. World Drug Day reinforces our resolve to join hands with each other against this social evil which is gradually destroying our youth. This day we commit that we will undertake our efforts with full devotion and dedication to curb the menace of narcotics'.

Major General Mohammad Arif Malik, DG ANF presented statistics on seizures conducted by ANF Pakistan, and showcased its achievements, while noting that 'as regards Drug Demand Reduction, the MNC/ANF are actively engaged in conducting awareness activities including seminars, walks, debates, and sports to sensitize youth, a major part of our population, against the hazards of narco-drugs. The target audience of such activities is our youth/students of schools, colleges, and universities.' He also remarked that 'besides this, special print media campaigns are run on important days e.g. 23 March, 26 June, 14 August, Hajj Season, etc. In addition to this, the MNC is working in close collaboration with the Islamabad Traffic Police (ITP). Special promos against the hazards of drugs are being run on FM 100 and FM 96.4. ANF has its own Drug Demand Reduction Cell, which continuously conducts awareness sessions in all provinces. Prevention or Demand Reduction is not limited to raising awareness against drugs only, it also includes the treatment of drug addicts as tertiary prevention. The MNC has four Model Addiction Treatment & Rehabilitation Centres (MATRCs) at Islamabad, Quetta, Sukkur, and Karachi, being managed by the ANF. Free of cost treatment is given to the drugs-affected in these facilities. The MATRC in Peshawar is under construction with the assistance of the KP Government. 

WHO Representative Dr. Palitha Mahipala said, 'Let me take this opportunity to add here that tobacco is the leading risk factor towards drug use, in fact it is a first step towards this menace.' Tobacco is the only legal drug that kills many of its users.  WHO has estimated that tobacco use, whether smoking or smokeless, is currently responsible for the annual global death of 8 million people, many of whom die prematurely. This includes over 600,000 people estimated to die from the effects of second-hand smoke.

'26 June is celebrated all over the world as a day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking. If you talk about the importance of this day, it should be discussed with those parents whose children are taking drugs, or whose loved ones have left this world due to drug abuse… It is a parasite which is eating up humanity… Government of Pakistan especially the Ministry of Narcotics Control and Anti - Narcotics Force have been taking effective measures and Inshallah we will curb this menace of drugs,' said Chief Guest Mr Shaheryar Afridi, Minister of State for SAFRON and Narcotics Control.

Another highlight of the event was a donation of 110 beds to ANF's Modern Drug Treatment Centres in Rawalpindi, Sindh, and Balochistan by H E Suhail Mohd AlZarooni, a philanthropist who flew from Dubai for the occasion. He avowed his commitment to UNODC and expressed his interest in partnering with UNODC in its work for drug awareness and prevention among vulnerable youth. He was Guest of Honour for the event. He has in built the Al Zarooni Mosque in KP, the largest in the region, and has facilitated the release of over 500 Pakistani prisoners in UAE jails, as acknowledged by the Pakistan Embassy and its Consulate in the UAE.

On the occasion's conclusion UNODC National Goodwill Ambassador and popular singer Shehzad Roy gave his message on World Drug Day, and emphasized 'the need for treatment facilities in hospitals for drug addicts as they are not criminals: we all have to help them collectively.' Upon the audience's request, he sang a few lines from one of his songs.

Multiple other activities were organized to commemorate World Drug Day, including a car rally, anti-drug walk, stage plays, street theatre, a painting exhibition, and quiz contests.

This event was made possible with the support of WHO, Norway, the UAE, Nestle Pakistan, CCP and Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries


Media Coverage

1.   Business Recorder 7.    Associated Press of Pakistan APP 13.    Diplomatic News Agency 
2.   Geo TV 8.   Urdu Point 14.   The Nation
3.   Instant News 9.    URDU Voz 15.    Shafaqna News
4.  Nawa e Waqt 10.  Urdu Point 16.  Radio Pakistan
5.  Associated Press of Pakistan APP 11.  The Express Tribune 17.  APP Urdu
6.  Radio Pakistan 12.  Press TV  
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