EVERY year June 26 is observed as International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.
On Dec 7, 1987 the General Assembly decided to observe this day as an expression of its determination to strengthen action and cooperation to achieve the goal of an international society free of drug abuse.
This resolution recommended further action with regard to the report and conclusions of the 1987 International Conference on Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.
The UN Office on Drugs and Crime has, over the years, been actively involved in launching campaigns to mobilise support for drug control.
The UN Office on Drugs and Crime often teams up with other organisations and encourages people to take part in these campaigns.
Governments, organisations and individuals in many countries, including Vietnam, Borneo and Thailand, have participated in promotional events and large-scale activities, such as public rallies and mass media involvement, to promote awareness of dangers associated with illicit drugs.
This day is also an occasion to highlight the fact that nearly 200 million people are still consuming illegal drugs.
These drugs might have names that sound colourful or enticing, such as crack, pot, junk, crystal meth, and disco biscuits.
But these are little more than tickets to a dead end. For those trapped by addiction, treatment is a way out, and the choice to seek treatment is not only courageous, but often life-saving.
Those who have not ventured down the path of drug abuse should learn the lesson from those who have, and firmly choose not to.
Making healthy choices also means choosing a lifestyle that has a positive effect on body and mind, including, for example, participation in sports to improve health and well-being, teach the value of teamwork and discipline, and build self-confidence.
Substance abuse has many negative physiological health effects, ranging from minor issues like digestion problems or respiratory infections, to potentially fatal diseases like AIDS and hepatitis C.
Finally, drug abuse damages the ability of people to act as free and conscious beings, capable of taking action to fulfil their needs.
How free drug abusers are when they have no control over their actions or reactions is debatable.
What is unarguable is that by giving in to bio-chemical processes that are deviant, a drug abuser loses what makes humans admirable and unique.
On this day, let us strengthen our collective resolve to live in a society free of drugs, and let us encourage all our fellow human beings to make personal choices to lead healthy lives.
SYED WAQAR ALI