International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking: 26th June 2012

Today we raise awareness of the negative impacts of drug use and trafficking.

Today, 26th June 2012, is the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, a day which was created by the General Assembly of the United Nations to raise awareness of the negative impacts of drug abuse and trafficking  and as an expression of its determination to strengthen action and cooperation to achieve the goal of an international society free of drug abuse.

After a period of rising drug use in Europe, we can now see that drug use has somewhat stabilized and there are even positive signs of decreasing use and initiation amongst young people in some Member States. There has also been a significant change in the type of drugs people use, with a reduction of the use of drugs like heroin in the late 1990's on one hand but an increase of the availability of new psychoactive substances on the other in more recent years. Whilst there are some positive signs, challenges remain across the entire drug journey.

At one end, farming communities in drug producing countries are not being provided with enough suitable alternative development opportunities to enable them to escape the drug trade, not all member states are taking consistent, cohesive actions which could reduce the possible displacement effects of enforcement action and at the other end of the scale, effective drug prevention measures are not being comprehensively provided to all young people, not even those at risk. For those who develop drug problems, drug users, as well as former drug users and their families may still fail to get the health and social support they require.

Europe Against Drugs (EURAD) will continue to call for a balanced, integrated EU Drugs Strategy where we see the interplay between different parts of the drug trade and not simply divide actions into supply and demand reduction. We also call on the Cypriot Presidency of the Council of the EU to incorporate sufficient drug prevention measures into the next EU Drugs Strategy, which will be in place from 2013 onwards and to ensure that the focus remains on reducing the use and impact of drug use across Europe. Europe Against Drugs supports the United Nations in its’ efforts to offer a balanced approach to halt trafficking, promote viable alternatives to the farmers of cash crops, and offer drug users and former drug users their health. By taking such a balanced approach that addresses drug supply and confronts demand, societies can make a difference in curbing the negative impact of drugs.

Stig-Erik Sørheim, President of EURAD noted that: “On the International Day Against Drug Abuse, it is worth reflecting that the majority of people do not use drugs and reflect on the positive trends we are currently seeing in some EU countries, where youth illicit drug use is starting to go down, for example in Ireland”.

The theme for this year's campaign is "Healthy Communities Without Drugs". A range of campaign tools are available.

Later today, Europe Against Drugs (EURAD) will be attending a conference in Brussels to welcome cyclists from the Paris-Brussels leg of the Sport vs Drugs action team, who have been visiting communities across Europe raising awareness of the impacts of drug use, which has been arranged by the Foundation For A Drug Free World