28 June 2022 – Palestine
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in partnership with the Anti-Narcotic Administration (ANA) within the Palestinian Civil Police (PCP), is celebrating the International Day against Drug Use and Illicit Trafficking on 28 and 29 June 2022, which aims to strengthen action and cooperation in achieving a world free of drug use. The celebration is taking place in four West Bank cities of Ramallah, Bethlehem, Nablus and Qalqilya, where UNODC supports various sports and entertainment activities.
Each year, individuals, entire communities, and various organizations all over the world join together to observe World Drug Day, raising awareness of the major problem illicit drugs pose to society. The international community continues to advocate for protecting the right to health for the most vulnerable, including children, youth, women, people using drugs, people with drug use disorders, especially in communities suffering from deteriorating economic conditions. It also continues to call for urgent action to strengthen drug abuse prevention and treatment.
To celebrate World Drug Day this year UNODC continues to promote sports and related activities to build resilience in at-risk youth and keep them away from risky behaviors. Strengthening the life skills of youth is a key objective in order to minimize risk factors and maximize protective factors related to crime, violence and drug use as these skills allow them to better cope with daily life challenges.
The celebration started with an opening ceremony in Qalqilya and an acknowledgment of the importance of World Drug Day. Further, Khaldoun Oweis, UNODC Officer in Charge, and brigadier Abdallah Elewi, head of ANA, provided opening remarks. The ceremony was followed by a running marathon in Qalqilya and a swimming competition in Bethlehem. In Nablus, UNODC supported various entertainment activities, including games, competitions and art workshops to raise awareness of the serious impacts of drug use. On the second day of the celebration, football activities will be held in Ramallah. The events targeted at least 400 youth and children and 500 families, including those from refugee camps. The winners were awarded trophies and medals and gifts from UNODC. The activities go in line with this year’s World Drug Day campaign under the slogan “Care In Crisis” and contribute to addressing challenges in health and humanitarian crises.
The events are organized under the “Youth 4 Impact” regional programme which aims to help young men and women, including those marginalized and at risk, to become more empowered to face life's challenges and to be more resilient against crime, violence and drugs. The project is active in a number of countries in the region, including Egypt, Lebanon, Libya, Palestine, and Sudan and is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Development and Economic Cooperation (BMZ).