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World Drug Day

Support World Drug Day. Learn, Educate and Help Erradicate the Stigma for getting help. World Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. World Drug Addiction Day. Drug Addiction World Statistics.

Around 275 million people used drugs worldwide in the last year 2021, while over 36 million people suffered from drug use disorders, according to the 2021 World Drug Report, released by the UNODC. Between 2010-2019 the number of people using drugs increased by 22%, owing in part to global population growth.

According to the latest global estimates, about 5.5% of the population aged between 15 and 64 years have used drugs at least once in the past year, while 36.3 million people, or 13% of the total number of persons who use drugs, suffer from drug use disorders. Globally, over 11 million people are estimated to inject drugs, half of whom are living with Hepatitis C. Opioid crisis continues to account for the largest burden of disease attributed to drug use. [6]

World Drug Addiction Day should be observed to mark the significance of the fight against these drug addiction crises and illicit trafficking. We can do our part by:

  • Sharing facts on the drug crisis
  • Sharing facts from health risks and solutions to tackle the world drug problem to evidence-based prevention
  • By exploring treatment options, and care re

The International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is a United Nations International Day against drug abuse and the illegal drug trade. It is observed annually on 26 June, since 1989. 

When is World Drug Day?

Drug addiction is a chronically relapsing disorder that the compulsive use of addictive substances has distinguished; despite adverse consequences to the individual and society. However, addiction to drugs and alcohol is increasingly becoming a trend in lifestyle prevalent in rich and developing countries. [1] As a result, addiction to alcohol, drugs, and cigarette smoking is now considered a significant public health problem.

By resolution 42/112 of 7 December 1987, the UN General Assembly decided to observe 26 June as the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking as an expression of its determination to strengthen action and cooperation to achieve the goal of an international society free of drug abuse. [2]

A number of factors have been associated with drug addiction including the:

  • Availability
  • Cost
  • Method of administration
  • Environmental factors such as behaviors acceptable in a community, peer influences
  • Genetic and epigenetic factors

Over the years a number of therapeutic approaches for drug and alcohol addiction have been utilized. However, relapse the resumption of drug-taking following a period of drug abstinence, is considered the main hurdle in treating drug addiction. 

World Drug Day
World Drug Day aims to raise awareness of the major problem that illicit drugs represent in our society.
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World Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking

The commonly abused drugs have profound action in the nervous system, particularly in the brain. Some of these drug use disorders, such as opium, marijuana use disorder, cocaine addiction, nicotine addiction, and psilocybin abuse, are obtained from natural sources. In contrast, others are synthetic drugs or designer drugs.

Furthermore, some of these substances like alcohol and nicotine are legal, while others that are legally available by prescription have addictive potential in vulnerable individuals. Many addictive substances are illegal in most countries, fueling the illicit drug trafficking and business often associated with criminal activities. [3]

Drug trafficking is an illegal global trade involving substance cultivation, manufacture, distribution, and sale subject to drug prohibition laws. Lawmakers widely consider drug trafficking a serious offense around the world. Penalties usually depend on the:

  • Type of drug (and its classification in the country it is being trafficked)
  • The quantity trafficked
  • Where the drugs are sold
  • How they are distributed

If the drugs are sold to underage people, then the penalties for trafficking may be more intense than in other circumstances.

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To combat drug addiction globally, the specific goals of the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL)’s International Demand Reduction Program are to: 

  • Decrease drug use
  • Delay the onset of drug use
  • Reduce the number of morbidity deaths caused by drug use
  • Reduce drug-related violence and criminal behavior
  • Diminish the presence of drug-fueled gangs and gang membership; and 
  • Establish self-sustained drug prevention, education, treatment, rehabilitation, and aftercare programs in partner countries [4]

Drug trafficking/distribution is a felony and is a more severe crime than drug possession.

If you’re caught in possession of drugs, you could be charged with trafficking if police believe you planned to sell them. Likewise, if you’re found with many drugs or cash at the time of your arrest, you’ll likely face drug distribution charges. Drug trafficking can result in the death penalty in some countries, the punishment also includes penalties and years to life in prison.

Each year during the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime invites everyone to do their part, “by taking a firm stance against misinformation and unreliable sources; while committing to sharing only the real science-backed data on drugs and saving lives.

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime [5]
World Drug Day
Yes, addiction is a treatable disorder. Seek help now and live a better life.

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Concern about substance use disorder? If you think someone you know is struggling with drug abuse, check the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5®) [7] below. Substance use disorders are defined as a pattern of use that results in marked distress and/or impairment, with two or more of the following symptoms:

  1. Using the substance in larger amounts or over a longer period of time than intended
  2. Unsuccessful attempts or persistent desire to reduce the use
  3. Too much time spent on obtaining, using, and/or recovering from the effects of the substance
  4. A strong craving for the substance
  5. Significant interference with roles at work, school, or home
  6. Continued use despite recurrent social or interpersonal consequences
  7. Reducing or giving up important social, occupational, or recreational activities because of the substance use
  8. Substance use in situations in which it may be physically hazardous
  9. Substance use despite recurrent or persistent physical or psychological consequences
  10. Tolerance of the substance
  11. Withdrawal from the substance

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World Drug Day Message

The devastating consequences of drug use know no geographic, economic, social, or ethnic borders. As a result, hundreds of thousands of people around the globe – rich, poor, educated, illiterate, male, female, and even young children – die from substance use disorders, and many are victims of drug-fueled violence. Beyond the toll drugs take on health and welfare, substance use disorders damage economic development, decline social and political stability, and reduce security in countries and regions worldwide. [8]

The World Drug Day message does not end after June 26, the UNODC continues to provide facts and practical solutions to address the current world drug problem and remains committed to attaining health for all, Helplines are open 24/7, and we must not forget that drug addiction is treatable.

Yes, withdrawal and drug overdose can be deadly, but it doesn’t have to be. Have a plan in place and utilize the resources available in your community. Drug-related deaths are almost always avoidable if the symptoms are addressed promptly and appropriately. Don’t risk your life or the life of a loved one. Get help today!

World Drug Day
Treatment enables people to counteract addiction’s disruptive effects on their brain and behavior and regain control of their lives.

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[1,3] Understanding the Global Problem of Drug Addiction is a Challenge for IDARS Scientists – National Center for Biotechnology Information
[2] International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking | 26 June – available from United Nations
[5] United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
[6] UNODC World Drug Report 2021: pandemic effects ramp up drug risks, as youth underestimate cannabis dangers – Report available from:–as-youth-underestimate-cannabis-dangers.html
[7] Adapted from American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5®). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Publishing; 2013.

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