Press Releases

25 June 2004

“Drugs: Treatment Works” Campaign Launched by United Nations Drugs Office

Year-long Campaign to Be Launched on International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking on 26 June Emphasizes Importance of Drug Treatment

VIENNA, 25 June (UN Information Service) -- “Drugs: treatment works” is the theme of a year-long campaign launched by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) on 26 June, the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. The campaign aims at emphasizing the importance and effectiveness of drug treatment – to drug dependent individuals, as well as to the general public.

UNODC also hopes to diminish the stigma attached to drug users by illustrating the possibilities for a positive future, using the stories of individuals who have successfully undergone treatment and are engaged in productive lives.

“A common misconception exists that ‘once a drug abuser, always a drug abuser’. This attitude and the stigma associated with drug abuse and drug dependence hinders society from being proactive in meeting and treating the needs of drug abusers. In truth, drug abuse treatment is effective and can have a dramatic impact on individuals, families and society”, said Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director, UNODC.

Effective drug abuse treatment can also help alleviate some of the most devastating social ills – crime, the transmission of infectious diseases, loss of productivity, and family as well as social disorders.

UNODC’s recently published World Drug Report estimates the total number of drug abusers worldwide at approximately 185 million. Cannabis is the most widely abused drug, followed by amphetamine-type stimulants. In terms of health impact measured by the demand for treatment services, opiates remain the most serious problem drugs in the world.

Campaign materials available on UNODC’s web site ( include: fact sheets; radio spots using testimonials from recovered drug abusers; a radio interview with a treatment expert; stories from individuals who have successfully undergone drug abuse treatment; and a treatment and rehabilitation toolkit including four publications drawing on research, evaluation reports and field expertise to illustrate the value of treatment.

The International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is celebrated every year on 26 June to commemorate the signature of the Declaration adopted at the International Conference against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking on that day in 1987. Civil society organizations are particularly involved in relating their activities to the celebration of the International Day.

Every year, a theme is established and thousands of people around the world are mobilized through UNODC's field office network to celebrate the day.

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