In his message to mark the International day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking which is celebrated every 26th of June, the Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon has called for “a global response that is simultaneously effective, compassionate and humane,” to the challenges posed by the world drug problem.

“I call on countries and communities to continue to improve the lives of everyone blighted by drug abuse by integrating security and public safety with a heightened focus on health, human rights, and sustainable development,” the UN chief said.

According to the UN, the illicit trade in drugs fosters transnational organised crime networks, systemic corruption and widespread violence. It is also a major public health menace.

Millions of people are directly affected, especially the poor, vulnerable women and children, and those living in fragile communities.

On the special day, ‘Listen First’ an initiative to increase support for prevention of drug use was launched.

The UN posit that listening to children and youth is the first step to help them grow healthy and safe, and it is thus an effective investment in the well-being of children and youth, their families and their communities.

It was in 1987, that the General Assembly decided to observe 26 June as the International Day as an expression of its determination to strengthen action and cooperation to achieve the goal of an international society free of drug abuse.

Author: Ope Adedeji