International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking: 26th June


Illicit trafficking is not just about drugs but, also about people. To achieve a drug-free society, this day was put into effect. The International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking came into action on 26th June 1987. It was officialized by the United Nations General Assembly to raise awareness and fight against the unlawful trafficking of drugs.

It is always the amount that matters! A very small ratio of drugs is used by pharmaceutical companies to manufacture useful medicines. But when the same is taken in a large amount, it can cause drug addiction. According to World Drug Report released in 2017 by UNO on Drugs and Crime, about 5.3% of global adult (a quarter of a billion) has used drugs for at least once in the year 2015. Out of this percentage, around 0.6% of the global adult citizens suffered from drug disorders, including drug addiction and drug dependence.

International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking - June 26

History of International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking:

The UNO on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) declared that around 200 million people worldwide were using illegal drugs like cannabis, cocaine, hallucinogens and sedative hypnotics. There are certain limitations in the usage of drugs as per Drug policy but, the review showed that there are many illegal uses of drugs, posing a health danger to humanity. Keeping this in mind, Member States have initiated the World Drug control system for the controlled use of drugs.

The General assembly felt that despite the international efforts, the world drug problem is causing a serious threat to public life and health. The safety of humanity is on a stake, particularly in young people, as it is undermining the sustainable development of the nation. This made UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime) to carry forward their effort on International drug control and also asked all Governments to financially and politically support to strengthen the foundation of UNODC.

What are Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking?

A new kind of drugs, known as New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) came into the market causing a challenge to Drug Policy. Before it was sold openly and online but later, NPS was recognized as unsafe medicines for humans. Such medicines were marketed as ‘Legal Highs’, ‘Research Chemicals’ and ‘Bath Salts’.

The Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking are known to be a global level black market of drugs that manufacture, cultivate, distribute and sell the illegal drugs i.e. drugs which are prohibited by laws or does not come under Drug policy. The International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking helps us to stand together and make people aware of the negative aspects of drugs and its usage.

Objectives of International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking:

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) uses this officially commemorative day to throw light on the dangers associated with drugs and their illegal market. Their main objective is to provide education to the public all over the world to help spread the awareness about the economic and cultural harm, the black market of drugs is doing across the nation for 100 years, after it was initially launched in one of the bloodiest battles of Shanghai started in the year 1937.

2018 Theme for International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking:

The theme for the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking (2018) is “Listen First”. It is an initiative to prevent the usage of drugs and make an effective investment for the well being of children, youth, families, and communities. This theme highlights that “Listening to children and youth is the first step to support and help them so that they grow safe and healthy”.

What is NPS?

NPS is referred to as New Psychoactive substances, a kind of drugs which are specially designed to mimic established illegal or illicit drugs like Cannabis, Ecstasy, Heroin, Cocaine, and LSD. The manufacturers of illicit drugs develop new chemicals to replace the banned ones and stay ahead of the Drug Law. These drugs were listed as ‘Class A’ controlled drugs under the “Misuse of Drugs Act” on May 1st, 2014. In December 2015, approx. 643 NPS were registered by the UNODC.

NPS are sold by various names. The NPS found in Singapore are “Smoking Blends”, commonly referred to as ‘Synthetic Weed’. They are usually rolled up with cigarette paper and then, smoked to get the effects. Some form of NPS is sold as tablets of ‘Bath Salts’ and ‘Ecstasy’.

Bath salts are mainly taken orally. It can also be inhaled or injected.

Types of NPS:

New Psychoactive Substances, commonly known as NPS are basically of 3 types:

1. Party Pills and Pellets:

They are often sold as natural supplements of energy booster and mood enhancer, with similar effects to Amphetamines and Ecstasy. These drugs can contain man-made or artificial chemicals and the medicine labels don’t list the correct and accurate ingredients. Party Pills and Pellets are taken orally.

2. Synthetic Cannabis:

It contains man-made or artificial chemicals that have similar reactions to delta-9 THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), an active ingredient found in Cannabis, commonly known as Marijuana.

The powdered form of these chemicals is added to dry cannabis herb by mixing it in a solvent. Their market is done under general terms like Herbal Incense, Aphrodisiac Tea, and Potpourri. Synthetic Cannabis is often smoked and sometimes taken as a tea.

3. Research Chemicals and Drug Analogue:

Research chemicals and Drug Analogues often belong to a category of phenethylamines, cathinone, and tryptamines. They are marketed as Pure Psychoactive Drugs. Many of the active ingredients which are found in Synthetic Cannabis and Party Pills are considered “Research Chemicals”. They are used as a white powder, capsules, and crystals.

Effects of NPS:

  1. An overdose of NPS can cause unpredictable behaviors and temporary psychotic conditions.
  2. A sudden rise in body temperature and heartbeat causing risk of Coma and PMA (Positive Mental Attitude).
  3. Abusers can experience hallucination and seizures.
  4. Confusion causing aggression and violence.
  5. Intense comedown giving a suicidal feel to a person.

Health and Safety Related to NPS:

Drugs always carry some amount of risks. We need to be cautious while taking NPS and consider the following points:

  1. NPS is more likely to cause negative impact when taken in combination with alcohol or other drugs.
  2. The proper listing of the ingredients in NPS along with the adequate amount is not given. This can cause an overdose.
  3. NPS can cause serious health problems if taken in injected form.
  4. Do a proper research on the types of NPS available in the market and its side effects.

The key principle of the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is to protect the health of the people and do welfare of humankind. This day remains committed to effectively address the challenges of Illicit drugs and help people come out of from the world of drugs.


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