26 June 2023 Theme
“People first: stop stigma and discrimination, strengthen prevention”
The world drug problem is a complex issue that affects millions of people worldwide. Many people who use drugs face stigma and discrimination, which can further harm their physical and mental health and prevent them from accessing the help they need. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) recognizes the importance of taking a people-centered approach to drug policies, with a focus on human rights, compassion, and evidence-based practices.
The International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, or World Drug Day, is marked on 26 June every year to strengthen action and cooperation in achieving a world free of drug abuse. The aim of this year’s campaign is to raise awareness about the importance of treating people who use drugs with respect and empathy; providing evidence-based, voluntary services for all; offering alternatives to punishment; prioritizing prevention; and leading with compassion. The campaign also aims to combat stigma and discrimination against people who use drugs by promoting language and attitudes that are respectful and non-judgmental.
This year’s World Drug Day is a call to:
- Raise awareness about the negative impact of stigma and discrimination on people who use drugs and their families.
- Raise awareness about the AIDS and hepatitis epidemics among people who use drugs and expand and strengthen HIV and hepatitis prevention programmes.
- Promote evidence-based, voluntary services for all people who use drugs.
- Educate about drug use disorders, available treatments and the importance of early intervention and support.
- Advocate for alternatives to imprisonment for drug-related crimes, such as community-based treatment and services.
- Combat stigma and discrimination by promoting language and attitudes that are respectful and non-judgmental.
- Empower young people and communities to prevent drug use and addiction.
On 7 December 1987, the United Nations General Assembly decided to observe 26 June as the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking as an expression of its determination to strengthen action and cooperation to achieve the goal of an international society free of drug abuse by passing a resolution 42/112.