ISLAMABAD: To mark the ‘International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking’, the Ministry of Narcotics Control and UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) will organise a walk and cycle rally at Gulshan-i-Fatima Park in E-7 (Margalla Road) on Sunday.

The day is observed on June 26 every year to strengthen action and cooperation in achieving a world free of drug abuse. This year’s world drug day will spotlight on the impact of drug challenges in health and humanitarian crises.

From war zones to refugee camps to communities torn apart by violence, people in all parts of the world are in dire need. A pandemic, a climate crisis, a food crisis, an energy crisis and supply chain disruptions have increased suffering and taken countries to the brink of global recession.

Conflicts, climate disasters, forced displacement and grinding poverty create fertile ground for drug abuse - with Covid-19 making a bad situation even worse. At the same time, people living through humanitarian emergencies are far less likely to have access to the care and treatment they need and deserve.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said in his message that criminals were profiting from people’s misery with cocaine production at record highs and a five-fold increase in seizures of methamphetamines and a near-quadrupling of amphetamine seizures over the last decade.

“We renew our commitment to ending this scourge and supporting those who fall victim to it.”

This includes non-discriminatory policy solutions centered around people, health and human rights, underpinned by strengthened international cooperation to curb the illicit drug trade and hold accountable those who profit from human misery, he said.

Meanwhile, the UNODC will launch its annual ‘World Drug Report 2022’ on Monday.

The report will present an overview of the current trends on global drug markets and includes the latest data on drug use, production, and trafficking.

It will also analyse the gender gap relating to drug use and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Published in Dawn, June 26th, 2022

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