On Day Against Drug Abuse, UN calls for international cooperation to realize global commitments

On Day Against Drug Abuse, UN calls for international cooperation to realize global commitments. Image: UNODC26 June 2018 - To mark the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, the United Nations is calling on all countries to advance prevention and treatment services, ensure access to controlled medicines, and prevent abuse.

"Together, we can ensure that all people can live in health, dignity and peace, with security and prosperity," said UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

In his message on the International Day, the UN chief described drug challenges as among the most complex problems that the world faces, with wide-ranging impacts on health and well-being, families and communities, security and sustainable development. "Addressing them requires a holistic focus across many fronts, as highlighted in the outcome document unanimously adopted by the 2016 United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the world drug problem," Mr. Guterres stressed.

"There are no easy solutions. But my own experience reinforces my strong conviction that we can chart a better path to counter the world drug problem," noted UN Chief, referring to steps he took as the Prime Minister of Portugal.

Emphasizing the need for international cooperation, Mr. Guterres said: "I urge countries to advance prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and reintegration services; ensure access to controlled medicines while preventing diversion and abuse; promote alternatives to illicit drug cultivation; and stop trafficking and organized crime - all of which would make an immense contribution to our work to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals."

In another message to mark the Day, Yury Fedotov, the Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), pointed to the problems that stand in the way of achieving a world without drug abuse. "There is the opioid crisis and other urgent drug use problems, compounded by gaps in health and social services that leave far too many people without the help they need; illicit drug cultivation and trafficking; and linkages with development challenges, conflict and terrorism."

"But as daunting as these problems are, all of us can do our part and take action," Mr. Fedotov said, underlining that prevention is truly better than cure.

"By listening to the needs of children and young people, prevention can contribute to their safety, health and well-being, and enable them realize their potential. All our societies would be better off if more resources were devoted to supporting evidence-based drug prevention strategies, which are a sound and effective investment in families, schools and communities."

The theme for the 2018 edition of the Day,  Listen First - Listening to children and youth is the first step to help them grow healthy and safe, builds on the theme for the commemoration last year. It is an initiative to increase support for prevention of drug use that is based on science and is thus an effective investment in the well-being of children and youth, their families and their communities.

Further Information:

Listen First Campaign

Message of United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, on the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking

Statement of the UNODC Executive Director for the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking