UNODC, ROSA commemorates the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, celebrated on June 26 every year.

India: Awareness through movies and music on World Drug Day

The International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is celebrated every year on 26 June to commemorate the signing of the Declaration adopted at the International Conference against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking on that day in 1987.  Commemorating the day, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Regional Office for South Asia organized an evening of 'Films, dialogue and music' on 25 June 2012, the eve of the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking at ML Bhartia Auditorium, Alliance Francaise, New Delhi. Shri Oscar Fernandes, Member of Parliament and the Chief Guest for the evening, Shri Lalsanglur - Director, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Dr. Rajat Ray, Member, International Narcotics Control Board and Head Department of Psychiatry - All India Institute of Medical Sciences and Mr. BB Mishra, Deputy Director General, Narcotics Control Bureau addressed the gathering. Ms. Cristina Albertin, Representative UNODC, ROSA delivered the welcome address.

Following the opening, three short films were screened on drug use prevention, treatment and care. The first film titled "Just stop, Just close, Overdose!" explains drug overdose and how to manage it.  The 10 minute animation story tells the experience of two drug users faced with helplessness when their friend collapses after a drug overdose. The movie explains the causes of overdose and how to react properly to save the person. The second film titled "A Day in the Drop-in Center" describes the functioning of a Drop-in Center (DIC) for injecting drug users (IDUs), their roles and the various treatment and care services available for injecting drug users. The third film titled "Sui, Syringe aur Nasha" focuses on the Needle and Syringe Exchange Program (NSEP) which ensures that new needles and syringes are available to injecting drug users for safe injecting. The movie emphasizes the need for the availability of clean needles for IDUs and the proper disposal of used needles and syringes.

The movies have been developed for the use by outreach staff and peer educators who provide health services and counselling to drug users. The movies can be screened at DICs during community events to generate awareness among drug users, their families and the larger community. DICs are an initiative by the National Aids Control Organization, Government of India that provide a number of services to IDUs.

On the occasion, UNODC also released a number of publications including (i) Standard Operating Procedures aiming at quality assurance in the provision of services for drug users, (ii) Training Manuals that help in capacity building and (iii) research studies that generate evidence for the respective identification of interventions for drug users and their sex partners.

The evening came to a close with a lively and interactive performance by the Sahara Band. The band comprised of recovering drug users who through their music shed light on the significance of engaging with the drug using community. The band performed reggae, soul and rock numbers from the 60s and 70s.

The event brought together Government officials, parliamentarians, NGOs, the UN family and civil society. It served as a reminder of the need to address drug issues holistically and to raise awareness on the risks and consequences of drug use.

Click here to view the publications