International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking

The International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is an International Day propounded by United Nations in order to fight against the substance abuse as well as the unlawful trade of drugs. It is annually observed on 26th June all across the globe by millions of people.

It is against drug abuse and illicit trafficking, it is an expression of determining and strengthening action and boosting the cooperation worldwide to achieve the goal of an international society which is free of substance abuse. On this day, various organizations are committed to eradicate this menace and emphasize on peacefully addressing the challenges of illegal drugs. Their basic principle is protecting the youth and promoting welfare of humankind.

International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking 2019

The 2019 International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is being observed on Wednesday, 26th June. This year the event is observed on the central theme of “Health for Justice. Justice for Health”.

Several programs are organized at the United Nations with other stake holders, from across the globe, participating to make the world free from drug abuse and to eliminate illicit trafficking and address the grievances of victims.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) also launched the 2019 World Drug Report from the United Nation Secretarial located in New York.

The United Nations took the opportunity to spread awareness against drug abuse and its ill effects on a person and society as a whole. Educational material was also distributed among teachers and officials gathered from around the world. The fight against drug abuse was reenergized and the commitment of nations was reaffirmed during the event.

Indian state of Punjab observed the “International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking” with much enthusiasm with several schools, colleges and Non government Organizations (NGOs) participating in the observance.

Government’s commitment for the treatment of drug abuse victims through OOAT (Outdoor Opioid Assisted Treatment Clinics) was reaffirmed by the state Health and Family Welfare minister.

The day is observed in every school and college and the civil surgeon of the respective area played the responsibility of conducting the events.

About Drug Abuse

Drug abuse or drug addiction is a psychiatric, social and psychological problem that not only affects the youth of the entire world but affects a large area of people of different age. It ruins the individuals and the society in manifolds- socially, physically, culturally, emotionally and economically.

Acting on the brain of the living, the drug spawns a broad range of disorders like fear, anxiety and a sense of insecurity in them. There are certain drugs like nicotine, cocaine, caffeine, heroine, morphine, cannabis, meth, etc that stimulate the grey matter and the nervous system resulting in an enhanced alertness as well as response.

Addiction to such drugs causes a severe loss of appetite and weight, constipation, increased anxiety and irritability, sleeplessness and gradual impairment of intellectual functioning. There are other sedatives that do not speeds up the process, in fact slows down the activities of the individual and make the brain and nervous system dull. The consequences are that they arouse as pain relievers and sleep inducers.


About Illicit Drug Trafficking

Drug trafficking is an international illegal trade that involves the production, cultivation, dissemination and sale of substance which prohibited according to the basic laws. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is effectively monitoring and researching illegal international drug markets in order to attain a more comprehensive study of this menace.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes in their Drug Report estimates the market of the drugs at US$321.6 billion. The illicit drug trade is estimated to be approximately 1% of the international trade. The Northern trade routes and Balkan areas are the main drug trafficking areas that link Afghanistan to the massive market of other international drug markets in Eastern and Western Continents.

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)

UNODC is an international organisation which is fighting against illegal drug abuse and its production which is considered as an international crime. 1997 is the year when this organisation was established by merging the International Crime Prevention centre with the United Nations Drug Control Programme. United Nation Office on Drugs and Crime operates throughout the world. This organ of the United Nations depends on contributions which are made voluntarily majorly by the governmental institutions.

It is mandatory for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to help assisting the members in the struggle against illegal drug trafficking, increasing crime rates and international terror. In the annual declaration, the members of this organisation resolved to fortify their efforts to fight and combat the increasing crime rate in the illegal drug industry in all its form.

History of International Day against Drug and Illicit Drug Trafficking

The International Day against Drug and Illicit Trafficking is observed annually on 26th of June, since 1988, a date selected to commemorate the destruction of Lin Zexu, a figure in the opium trafficking and trade in Humen, Guangdong, preface to the First Opium War of China.

On 7th of December 1987 at the 93rd plenary meeting on Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking the United Nations’ General Assembly recalled its 40/122 resolution of 13 December, 1985 by which it decided to fight this menace. This meeting was the first step that initiated the Secretary-General to conduct an International Conference on Abuse of Drugs and its illegal distribution at the ministerial level, at Vienna in Austria.


Why International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is Celebrated?

Every year on 26th June, International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is celebrated worldwide. The main agenda of International Day against Drug and its illegal production is to raise a sense of responsibility into the masses, to encourage them to raise awareness about substance abuse and its illicit trafficking and brings sense of understanding about this menace to the people who suffer due to this problem. The aim to observe this day is to increase support for prevention of the production of drugs and its use and is thus a decisive investment for the well-being of students and youth, their relatives and their communities.

It emphasizes and puts on spotlight the significant effect of the clash between the healthy and dismantled environment. This day is dedicated towards the betterment of the lives of the people who are suffering from drug abuse and other addictions. The day acts as a reminder to the masses that these people must become participants in various rehabilitation programmes.

How is International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking celebrated?

Since 1987, International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is celebrated by organizing various seminars, exhibitions and lectures in all the countries where learned researchers, doctors and NGO workers take active part to spread the awareness of drug abuse.

Masses are encouraged to get involved in the awareness raising campaigns and a lot of activities are scheduled for the entire day to disseminate the condition of drug abuse and its consequences on the individual and the family and friends around him. People feel free to come forward and share their experience of how they got addicted, what steps are they keeping in mind to stop, and what all measure must a person take to stay aloof from things like these.

The members of various organizations, rehabilitation centres and NGO’s along with the victim conduct media events, awareness campaigns and these activities let others join them either online or through real time experiences. The biggest issue with such social issues are that the victim does not feel confident to come and approach health care centre even if he wants to. Organizing such events benefits such victims and helps them acknowledge the significance of getting out and getting through this menace.

Some of the examples of events held in recent year across the world are:


Ten years ago a survey was conducted in India that revealed that there were around seven lakhs drug addicts in the country with more than one lakh in the metros of Mumbai, Delhi and Pune. Since then the government of India has introduced stringent rules to curb the menace of drug abuse and its trafficking.

The Non-Governmental Organizations like Narcotic Anonymous provides counseling and treatment to several drugs abusers and restore their shattered lives. India’s governmental organisation, namely, Central Drugs Standard Control Organization annually takes part in various programmes that promote the eradication of drug abuse.

They advise the Central Drug Administration in context of toxicity and quality of drugs. In addition to these, several organizations actively collaborate with the World Health organisation to prepare international standards and measures to eradicate substance abuse. Many such organizations organize events to raise awareness on the bad impacts of drugs on the day and provide special assistance and care to the people suffering from the abuse.


Russia also observes International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking on 26th of June every year just like all other developed and developing countries. The Federal Drug Control Services of the Russian Federation is the enforcement agency that thrusts laws to regulate, control and monitor the trafficking in drugs and its abuse in all its forms. In Russia the day is celebrated by organizing a number of activities to aware the citizens about drug abuse, its consequences and the measures that can help them.

Volunteers and various NGO’s talk about the problem openly to the entire ken of generation, raise funds, and distribute the essential materials regarding the cause. Alongside this day, few years back the Government of Russia announced the official professional holiday – the Day of Drug Control Authorities. They coordinate with the other enforcement authorities of the world to investigate the drug abuse and its trafficking worldwide.

United States of America

In United States of America, the Drug Enforcement Agency organizes various events to celebrate the International Day against Drug Abuse and its Illicit Trafficking. The events are focused on fighting drug abuse, drug smuggling, and safeguarding the people from drug traffickers within the United States. The celebrations are in line with the theme of the current year as announced by the United Nations. They are also in collaboration with World Health Origination, emphasize on the eradication of substance abuse, its treatment and providing support to the families of the victim both mentally and economically.


Columbia observes the day on 26th of June with the international theme annually. Seminars are conducted on national health, criminal justice, social services and educational system to reduce the rise of drug use and other substance abuse. The country has always been working towards the decline in teen smoking. People are made aware about the initiatives of the global programmes on promoting access to controlled drugs for medicine purpose, abuse and preventive medicines.

Some more Suggestions for Celebrating International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit trafficking in India

When drug abuse wide spreads both among the richer and poorer strata of society, it is all the more imperative that there is a need for community assistance to prevent drug abuse. In the war of drug abuse, the famous saying” Prevention is better than cure” is substantially relevant. The celebration of International Day against Drug Abuse and Drug Trafficking can also include the below discussed points;

  • People should wear black t-shirts to spread awareness about what importance does the day carries and special pamphlets should be distributed to let people read about the abuse.
  • The law enforcement bodies should also be more effective and accountable by following the examples of strategies that nations followed and have brought positive results in their nation. Huge smuggling and dealing should be fought by huge police resources.
  • Children need to be told at home about this problem and school as well. Families and counsellors should to talk to the children and people who are in danger. Parents should look after their child and help them become responsible. They should encourage their child if he/she is a victim to keep self busy by opting for a job or visiting rehabilitation centres.
  • Basic education is the first step to eradicate this menace of abuse. Families should come together as a basic unit of society to play role towards the development of the child by being supportive towards him to fight his battle against the abuse.
  • The cultivation of the entire drug yielding crop should be banned and their production should be regulated by organizing anti cultivation drives on this day.

Theme of International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit trafficking

  • Theme of 2019 is “Health for Justice. Justice for Health”
  • Theme of 2018 was “Listen First – Listening to children and youth is the first step to help them grow healthy and safe”.
  • The theme for 2017 was “Listen First – Listening to children and youth is the first step to help them grow healthy and safe”.
  • Theme of 2016 was “Listen First”.
  • Theme of 2015 was “Lets Develop — Our Lives — Our Communities — Our Identities — Without Drugs”.
  • Theme of 2014 was “A message of hope: Drug use disorders are preventable and treatable”.
  • Theme of 2013 was “Make health your ‘new high’ in life, not drugs”.
  • Theme of 2012 was “Global Action for Healthy Communities without Drugs”.
  • Theme of 2011 was “Say No!”.
  • Theme of 2010 was “Think health – not drugs”.
  • Theme of 2009 was “Do drugs control your life? Your life. Your community. No place for drugs.”
  • Theme of 2008 was “Do drugs control your life? Your life. Your community. No place for drugs.”
  • Theme of 2007 was “Do drugs control your life? Your life. Your community. No place for drugs.”
  • Theme of 2006 was “Value yourself…make healthy choices”.
  • Theme of 2005 was “Drugs is not child’s play”.
  • Theme of 2004 was “Drugs: treatment works”.
  • Theme of 2003 was “Let’s talk about drugs”.
  • Theme of 2002 was “Substance abuse and HIV/AIDS”.
  • Theme of 2001 was “Sports against drugs”.
  • Theme of 2000 was “Facing reality: denial, corruption and violence”.


In conclusion, though the drug issue might seem to be almost impossible to eradicate, there exist many concrete actions which can be undertaken to reduce the impact of this menace over our society. The threat from drugs is too large to be ignored. We must take immediate actions to safeguard our society. Drug addiction is a draconian demon that can hold up on our society. We must never forget that a thousand mile journey never happens at one go, it takes little efforts each day.