Special Report: International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking

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The date of June 26 of every year has been designated by the United Nations as the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. The date was chosen in 1987 by the member states as a day that would be observed in order to help promote an international, drug-free society. 

It was felt that a day was needed to help raise awareness of the adverse effects of illicit drugs, since, regardless of international efforts to educate the public on the deleterious nature of illicit drugs on physical and mental health, the threat still persisted. The establishment of a day dedicated to fostering action and cooperation against drug abuse and drug trafficking, thus, would help spread the message about how illicit drugs can harm public health, the safety and well-being of all people, particularly young people, as well as national security. It would also support the work of the Commission and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), which works to control drugs internationally. According to their World Drug Report 2011, the number of illicit drug users has risen from the late 1990s, though the number of problem drug users has remained stable and is estimated between 15 to 39 million people.

The consequences of both drug trafficking and drug abuse are manifold, and include effects on health, such as the spread of HIV and Hepatitis C. Drug-related deaths are estimated at 104,000 to 263,000 annually, with more than 50% of these fatalities resulting from drug overdose.

In Thailand, numerous events are being held in order to mark the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, with a special focus on Her Majesty the Queen’s efforts and advice regarding the drug problem. The events are being held all over the kingdom, including those in Pattani, Trang, and Narathiwat. The events range from talks to activities.

Bangkok’s governor, M.R.Sukhumbhand Paribatra, for example, will host an event aimed at motivating children and adolescents to combat drugs at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre. Mukdahan province will be holding an event that is in line with Her Majesty the Queen’s recommendations and intentions to solve the drug problem. The key goals of the event are to support the work of Her Majesty the Queen in the fight against drugs and to make all members of society aware of the negative effects of drug abuse, and to have people publicly vow to avoid drugs. In Mahasarakham province, a mini-half marathon open to both runners and walkers was held on June 24 to raise awareness of drug problems, and to pay a tribute to Her Majesty the Queen’s 80th birthday and His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn’s 60th birthday.

June 26, as the UN’s International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, serves a stimulus for governments worldwide to lend financial and political backing to the UNODC and other relevant agencies to combat drugs globally, in keeping with the UN’s pledge to eradicate drugs from international society.