Stop Stigma and Discrimination: International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking 2023

Focus on the Anti Drug Theme in Your Writing

A piece of writing has three significant purposes: to inform, to persuade, and to entertain. Whether you’re writing an article for school or to share with your friends, you need to focus on your purpose as you write it.

Drug abuse has devastating effects on people and society. To help address these issues, the campaign calls for: treating people who use drugs with respect and empathy; delivering evidence-based, voluntary services; providing alternatives to punishment; prioritising prevention; and leading with compassion.

International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking

Drug abuse and illicit trafficking are an enormous global threat to individuals, families, communities, and society as a whole. They are a major source of income for organized crime groups and generate serious health and social concerns, including deteriorating health, broken families, and loss of productivity.

The United Nations General Assembly, by resolution 42/112 of 7 December 1987, decided to observe 26 June as International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking in order to embolden action and cooperation in pursuit of the goal of an international society free from drug abuse. This important global observance is supported each year by governments, organizations, and people worldwide. This year, the WCO is taking part by advocating for an approach to fighting drugs that places people first: Stop stigma and discrimination; strengthen prevention; provide alternatives to punishment; and lead with compassion. We hope you will join us.

Support. Don’t Punish

The official theme for this year’s International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking (2023) is “People First: stop stigma and discrimination, strengthen prevention.” It aims to raise awareness that the war on drugs is harmful to people who use illicit substances, and calls on governments to treat them with respect and empathy; provide evidence-based, voluntary services for everyone; offer alternatives to punishment; prioritize prevention; and lead with compassion.

Parliamentarians are encouraged to participate in the campaign by using this template to share a message about 26 June and its goals on their social media platforms. They can also sign a statement of support by clicking here.

The campaign’s Initiatives Programme awards strategic, creative and collaborative projects that seek to advance drug policy reform, bolster harm reduction, and build bridges with communities disproportionately impacted by the ‘war on drugs’ (e.g., people who use illicit substances, farmers of crops deemed to be illegal, youth, and racialised communities). The next call for proposals will open on the occasion of the 2023 Global Day of Action.

Better Knowledge for Better Care

Providing better knowledge is key to reducing stigma and improving the quality of care for drug abusers. That’s why many organizations, like KKAWF, encourage their staff to share the facts about drugs and their impacts, whether in their work or at home. They might use cafeteria feedback boxes, postcards, posters, and brainstorming sessions to give people the chance to express their opinions about the issue and discuss ways to change policies to improve care.

The International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, also known as World Drug Day, has been held every year since 1988. It is meant to strengthen action and cooperation towards a drug-free world. This year, the UNODC announced the theme — ‘People First: Stop Stigma and Discrimination, Strengthen Prevention’ — to reflect the global complexity of the issue that impacts millions of people. The theme emphasizes the need to acquire accountable and inclusive institutions of criminal justice, health and social services that work together in line with international drug control conventions, human rights obligations, and sustainable development goals.

Health for Justice

The health justice movement seeks to name and disrupt the conditions that produce mass ill-health and suffering. It sees health not as something remedied by engagement with medical institutions once we become unwell, but as something rooted in and embedded on a structural level in the communities that need it most.

This work has been led by people from grassroots movements like the Black Panther Party, the Young Lords, and AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, as well as national and international social movements such as the Praxis Project and Asian Pacific Environmental Network. GHJP is committed to contributing to the health for justice movement by working to reduce the harms of prohibitionist drug policy and laws that have failed to promote public health and have caused deep harm to communities.

GHJP co-director Gregg Gonsalves and the workshop participants expressed many variations on core themes, including respect for community, partnership between scholars and community advocates, and a call to action for building more just political, economic, and legal systems. GHJP is proud to be part of this work and to support New Haven’s street-based harm reduction initiatives, such as the Sex Workers and Allies Network (SWAN).

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