UNODC marks 2018 International Day Against Drug Abuse and Drug Trafficking

This activity was funded by the European Union and France.

The International Day against Drug Abuse and Trafficking is a major event on UNODC's annual calendar. In West and Central Africa, many events took place on June 26th to celebrate this date and raise awareness through the "Listen First" campaign.

In Senegal, national authorities have even devoted an entire week to the fight against drug trafficking and the prevention of drug abuse. Thus, from June 25, 1.7 tons of cannabis have been incinerated in the ovens of the Sococim of Dakar (Rufisque) in the presence of the Minister of the Interior, Mr Aly Ngouille Ndiaye.

On June 26, the Minister presided over the opening ceremony of the International Day against Drug Abuse and Drug Trafficking in Dakar, organized by the Interministerial Committee for the Fight against Drugs, in the presence of the mayor of Gueule-Tapée-Fass-Colobane, UNODC and an audience of more than 400 people.

"Badienou Gokh,"  an association of women acting as "godmothers" of the communities in their respective localities also took part of the event. Thanks to their roles within communities and their access to families, they are key advocates for the protection of children and the prevention of drug abuse. A large number of students of 7 to 16 years old from football academies, middle and high schools in Dakar also attended the ceremony. The presence of women and young people during the event was in line with the "Listen First" campaign, which mainly targets young people, their teachers, parents, health professionals and political leaders.

Pierre Lapaque with the Badienou Gokh of Dakar
                        Pierre Lapaque with a teacher and his pupils

Pierre Lapaque, Regional Representative of UNODC, delivered a speech during the opening ceremony. He welcomed the good collaboration between UNODC and the Senegalese government, and underlined the importance of the Strategic Plan to fight against drugs, established in 2016 and behind this week of celebrations. He also emphasized Senegal's leading role in developping treatment programmes as shown nontably though the creation of the Integrated Addictions Management Centre of Dakar (CEPIAD) and the launch o f the first course in addictology at the University of Dakar in February 2018. Pierre Lapaque confirmed that Senegal is a key player in the regional fight against drugs.

World Drug Report (2018)
Pierre Lapaque during the press conference on June 26, in Dakar

World Drug Day is also the occasion for UNODC to launch its annual Drug Report, a research tool that monitors global trends and the latest developments regarding drug trafficking.

This year's Report confirms that non-medical use of prescription drugs is becoming a major threat for public health and law enforcement agencies around the world, particularly tramadol in Africa and Asia among others. In addition, global cocaine manufacture in 2016 reached its highest level ever: an estimated 1.410 tons.

Finally, for the first time, this Report addresses three population groups vulnerable to drug abuse: young people, the elderly and women. Indeed, it demonstrates that women represent one third of the world's drug users and that while women who use drugs typically begin using substances later than men, once they have initiated substance use, women tend to increase their rate of consumption of alcohol, cannabis, cocaine and opioids more rapidly than men.

To wrap up the day and the conference on the World Drug Report, Pierre Lapaque reminded that as Africa is a young continent, the "Listen First" campaign is particularly relevant there as the youth are the most vulnerable to drug abuse and trafficking: "Africa's strength is its youth. Governements of the continent must protect this asset and ensure that they remained in good health and able to contribute to their countries' development and well-being."

For more information:

World Drug Report 2018

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