World Drug Day or the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, is marked on 26 June every year to strengthen action and cooperation in achieving a world free of drug abuse.
The world drug problem is a complex issue that affects millions of people worldwide. Many people who use drugs face stigma and discrimination, which can further harm their physical and mental health and prevent them from accessing the help they need.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) recognizes the importance of taking a people-centered approach to drug policies, with a focus on human rights, compassion, and evidence-based practices.
According to the UNODC, nearly 200 million people are using illicit drugs such as cocaine, cannabis, hallucinogens, opiates and sedative hypnotics worldwide
The Theme for the year 2023 is, “People first: stop stigma and discrimination, strengthen prevention”
The aim of this year’s campaign is to raise awareness about the importance of treating people who use drugs with respect and empathy; providing evidence-based, voluntary services for all; offering alternatives to punishment; prioritizing prevention; and leading with compassion.
The campaign also aims to combat stigma and discrimination against people who use drugs by promoting language and attitudes that are respectful and non-judgmental.
How to Observe this day
• Initiate a conversation about drug addiction and abuse with your younger siblings, kids, and other relatives.
• Other than talking about its side effects, you can help create a favourable environment for victims of drug abuse. This will help them get rid of the stigma attached to it and encourage them to leave the habit.
• Encouraging youths to opt for different ways of hanging out with friends other than drug addiction and abuse and not succumbing to peer pressure.
• You can also take part in the official International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking social media campaign.
• Other than the above, you can make a small donation to campaigns related to it or organisations active with a similar aim.