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International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking observed on 26 June

Published on June 28, 2018
By resolution 42/112 of 7 December 1987, the 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.
  • Supported each year by individuals, communities and various organizations all over the world, this global observance aims to raise awareness of the major problem that illicit drugs represent to society.

The theme for 2018 is:

"Listen First - Listening to children and youth is the first step to help them grow healthy and safe."

The outcome document of this year recommends:

  • Measures to address demand and supply reduction. 
  • To improve access to controlled medicines while preventing diversion. 
  • The recommendations also cover the areas of human rights, youth, children, women and communities; emerging challenges, including new psychoactive substances; strengthening international cooperation; and alternative development. 
  • The text puts new emphasis on proportionate national sentencing policies and practices for drug-related offences, and features a strong focus on prevention and treatment.

History/Significance of this day:

  • The day was officially instituted by UN after UN General Assembly (UNGA) adopted resolution 42/112 in December 1987.
  • The date was chosen to commemorate Lin Zexu’s (Chinese scholar and official of the Qing dynasty) dismantling of the opium trade in Humen, Guangdong, just before the First Opium War in China (1839–42).
  • The day recognizes that despite continued and increased efforts by international community, the world drug problem continues to constitute serious threat to public health, safety and well-being of humanity, in particular young people, and national security and sovereignty of States and that it undermines socio-economic and political stability and sustainable development.
  • It encourages Commission and UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to continue their work on international drug control and urges all Governments to provide fullest possible financial and political support to enable UNODC to continue, expand and strengthen its operational and technical cooperation activities, within its mandates.
  • The UN General Assembly held a Special Session (UNGASS) on drugs in April 2016. This Special Session marked an important milestone in achieving the goals set in the policy document of 2009 "Political Declaration and Plan of Action on International Cooperation towards an Integrated and Balanced Strategy to Counter the World Drug Problem", which defined action to be taken by Member States as well as goals to be achieved by 2019.

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