For information only - not an official document

22 June 2018

Executive Director, UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Yury Fedotov:

Statement on the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking

26 June 2018

VIENNA, 26 June (UN Information Service) - The International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking was established by the United Nations General Assembly to strengthen global action and cooperation.

The international community continues to face many problems that stand in the way of achieving the aim of a world without drug abuse. There is the opioid crisis and other urgent drug use problems, compounded by gaps in health and social services that leave far too many people without the help they need; illicit drug cultivation and trafficking; related crime and violence, and linkages with development challenges, conflict and terrorism.

But as daunting as these problems are, all of us can do our part and take action. Policy makers first and foremost, but also concerned citizens, parents, teachers and engaged young people - we can work together to prevent substance abuse, and contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals.

We at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) are committed to working with you to advance balanced, people-centred and holistic approaches to drug challenges, fully in line with the universal drug control conventions.

"Listen First", the theme of this year's International Day, is a UNODC initiative to increase support for prevention of drug use that is based on science.

Research suggests that early-to late adolescence is a critical risk period for the initiation of substance use. By breaking the chain of social, neurobiological and psychological factors and inequalities that can increase susceptibility to drug use disorders, we can help young people to grow up healthy and safe.

When we are talking about the lives and futures of the next generation, prevention is truly better than cure.

By listening to the needs of children and young people, prevention can contribute to their safety, health and well-being, and enable them realize their potential. All our societies would be better off if more resources were devoted to supporting evidence-based drug prevention strategies, which are a sound and effective investment in families, schools and communities.

For more information and resources on what you can do to prevent drug abuse, go to

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For further information, please contact:

Sonya Yee
Speechwriter and Spokesperson, UNODC
Telephone: (+43 1) 26060-4990
Mobile: (+43-699) 1459-4990
Email: sonya.yee[at]