Sustainable alternatives required to tackle drug abuse: UN chief

ISLAMABAD: International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is being observed on Friday around the world to address the drug problem increasingly affected by misinformation.
The United Nations passed a resolution on 7th December, 1987 to mark 26th June as an expression of determination to strengthen action and cooperation to achieve the goal of a society free of drug abuse.
The theme for this is “Better Knowledge for Better Care” emphasising on the need to improve the understanding of the world drug problem and how better knowledge will foster greater international cooperation for countering its impact on health, governance and security.
This global observance is aimed at raising awareness of the major problem that illicit drugs represent to society and is supported by individuals, communities, and various organisations all over the world.
In his message on the occasion, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the theme of the observance this year speaks to the need to build solutions based on facts and shared responsibility.
“Mutual support and trustworthy information have proven to be pillars of responding effectively to the COVID-19 pandemic and saving lives.”
“Cooperation, reliable data and evidence-based action are just as vital to addressing the many challenges posed by the world drug problem, protecting people’s security and realizing the Sustainable Development Goals,” he said in a statement.
He said the international community has a solid foundation for action, with an agreed legal framework and commitments outlined in the 2019 Ministerial Declaration of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs.
“We must also strive to build on what works. As Prime Minister of Portugal more than two decades ago, my government launched a drug policy rooted in taking strong action in two areas. First, by cracking down on drug trafficking and those who profit from human misery. And, second, on making sure that those who need treatment get it. Those who develop an addiction to drugs are first and foremost patients and victims. That approach succeeded and drug consumption went down significantly, particularly among young people. Today, Portugal has one of Europe’s lowest death rates from drug use,” he said.
The UN chief called for developing sustainable alternatives to illicit drug crop cultivation, tackle drug trafficking and advance prevention, treatment and rehabilitation services for drug use.
To mark the observance in Pakistan, Minister for Narcotics Control Azam Khan Swati said building a drug-free society calls for continued and concerted measures on part of all stakeholders including the federal as well as provincial governments, non-governmental organizations, civil society, religious leaders and media.
He said the present government has launched a number of initiatives for strengthening law enforcement agencies at the federal, provincial and district levels to combat drug trafficking and reduce the flow of drugs in Pakistan.
The federal minister reaffirmed the commitment to undertake efforts with full devotion and dedication to curb the menace of narcotics. He said the day also gives us a message to join hands against the social evil that is gradually destroying our youth.
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