International Day Against Drug Abuse & Illicit Trafficking (UPSC GS-II)

26th June is recognized as the International Day against Drug Abuse & Illicit Trafficking. United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on 7th December 1987, decided that 26th June of every year will be recognized as the International Drug Day (another name for International Day against Drug Abuse & Illicit Trafficking.)  The theme for 2020 International Drug Day which was observed on 26th June 2020 was, ‘Better Knowledge for Better Care.’ Read on to know more important facts of this day for the IAS Exam.

Similarly, other important national and international days that are important from the civil services examination perspectives have been mentioned in the linked article.

Background of International Day Against Drug Abuse & Illicit Trafficking

As a global problem, drugs trade has always been a debatable scenario. The first international conference on narcotic drugs was held in Shanghai in 1909.  Gradually,  a multilateral system to control production, trafficking, and abuse of drugs was developed.

Three drug control conventions were adopted under the auspices of the United Nations (in 1961, 1971 and 1988).

Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961 – The aim of the convention was to combat drug abuse by international action that was well coordinated. Intervention and control that work together and have two forms. First, it seeks to limit the possession, use, trade-in, distribution, import, export, manufacture and production of drugs exclusively to medical and scientific purposes. Second, it combats drug trafficking through international cooperation to deter and discourage drug traffickers.

Convention on Psychotropic Substances, 1971 – An international control system for psychotropic substances was established. It responded to the diversification and expansion of the spectrum of drugs of abuse and introduced controls over a number of synthetic drugs according to their abuse potential on the one hand and their therapeutic value on the other.

United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, 1988 – This Convention provides comprehensive measures against drug trafficking, including provisions against money laundering and the diversion of precursor chemicals. It provides for international cooperation through, for example, extradition of drug traffickers controlled deliveries and transfer of proceedings.

  • The United Nations General Assembly first decided to observe the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking by a resolution moved on 7th December 1987.
  • This day is marked to embolden action and cooperation to secure the goal of an international society free of drug abuse.

Significance of International Day Against Drug Abuse & Illicit Trafficking

  • The UN fights against the menace of drug abuse through various bodies.
  • The UNODC or the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime leads the fight against illicit drugs, as well as an international crime.
  • The UNODC was formed in 1997 and has field offices all over the globe.
  • The UN observes international days to raise public awareness about issues, get support from governments and international bodies, as well as engage individuals and communities in combating severe problems and concerns.
  • A special session on drugs was held in the year 2016 by the General Assembly.
  • The international day is marked to recognize the severe impact drug abuse and addiction is having on people’s lives, and also on societal peace, development, and growth.
  • Every year, almost 2 lakh people deal with illicit trafficking.

International Day Against Drug Abuse & Illicit Trafficking 2020

The International Drug Day 2020 was observed on 26th June 2020. The theme was ‘Better Knowledge for Better Care.’ The salient points of this day are:

  1. The underlying intention to decide the theme of this year was to promote a better understanding of the drug abuse problem.
  2. A better understanding is expected to bring better international cooperation to fight the drug abuse issue.
  3. Health, governance, and security are the sectors that are majorly hit with the illicit trafficking of drugs and its abuse, hence with a better understanding of the issue, greater international cooperation is needed.

International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking Themes (Year-Wise)

The table below mentions the Year-Wise World Drug Day along with their respective themes:

Theme of International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking
Year The Theme of World Drug Day
2019 “Health for Justice. Justice for Health” – This theme emphasizes the fact that health and justice are really two sides of the same coin, especially when it comes to tackling drug problems.
2016-2018 “Listen First – Listening to children and youth is the first step to help them grow healthy and safe”
2015  “Let’s Develop — Our Lives — Our Communities — Our Identities — Without Drugs
2014  “A message of hope: Drug use disorders are preventable and treatable”
2013  “Make health your ‘new high’ in life, not drugs”
2012  “Global Action for Healthy Communities without Drugs”
2011 “Say No!”
2010  “Think health – not drugs”
2009 “Do drugs control your life? Your life. Your community. No place for drugs.”
2008 “Do drugs control your life? Your life. Your community. No place for drugs.”
2007  “Do drugs control your life? Your life. Your community. No place for drugs.”
2006  “Value yourself…make healthy choices”
2005  “Drugs is not child’s play”
2004  “Drugs: treatment works”
2003  “Let’s talk about drugs”
2002  “Substance abuse and HIV/AIDS”
2001 “Sports against drugs”
2000  “Facing reality: denial, corruption and violence”

World Drug Report

World Drug Report is published annually by the United Nations Office on Drugs & Crime. The World Drug Report 2020 has been presented in six separate booklets:

  1. Booklet 1 – The salient points mentioned in this booklet are:
    • Effects of COVID-19 on drug markets – The UN office mentioned the undefined effect of coronavirus on the drug markets. As mentioned in the booklet, the biggest immediate impact on drug trafficking can be expected in countries where large quantities are smuggled on commercial airliner flights.
    • 5.3 percent of the world’s population is involved in drug abuse as of 2018 against 4.8 percent in 2009.
    • Urban areas witness more drug abuse than rural areas.
    • Developed countries face more drug abusers than developing countries
    • The non-medical use of pharmaceutical drugs has been on the rise.
    • Some 35.6 million people suffered from drug use disorders in 2018
    • Cannabis is the most used drug substance and opioids the most harmful.
  2. Booklet 2 – This booklet mentions the extent of drug abuse and the concomitant health challenges. The salient figures mentioned in this booklet are:
    • In 2018, 192 million people abused cannabis.
    • In 2018, 58 million people abused opioids.
    • In 2018, 27 million people were users of amphetamines and prescription stimulants.
    • In 2018, 21 million people were users of Ecstacy and 19 million people were users of cocaine.
  3. Booklet 3 – It deals with the drug supply and related effective law-enforcement. The salient figures mentioned in this booklet of World Drug Report are:
    • In 2018, 5610 tonnes of Cannabis has been globally seized.
    • The numbers of global seizure of cocaine, opium, methamphetamine, heroin & Morphin, pharmaceutical opioids, amphetamine, and Ecstacy are 1131 tonnes, 704 tonnes, 228 tonnes, 139 tonnes,73 tonnes, 21 tonnes, and 12 tonnes respectively.
  4. Booklet 4 – This book defines the cross-cutting issues in handling world drug abuse. The salient points mentioned in this book are:
    • The factors helping the expansion of drug abuse are population growth, urbanization, and income.
    • Mixing of multiple substances, polydrug trafficking, new substances entering the market, new technologies, the overlap between legal and illegal markets are a few complexities in the global drug market and its handling.
  5. Booklet 5 – This book of World Drug Report 2020 mentions about the association between socioeconomic characteristics and drug use disorders. It also mentions the protective and risk factors for drug abuse.
  6. Booklet 6 – Drug Policy issues are catered to in the last book of World Drug Report 2020.

The information is helpful for UPSC 2020 and aspirants can download the same notes from below:

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