Why drug abuse must be fought at any cost

25Jun 2020
The Guardian
Why drug abuse must be fought at any cost

The International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is a United Nations International Day against drug abuse and the illegal drug trade. It is observed annually on 26 June, since 1989. The date June 26 is to commemorate Lin Zexu's dismantling of the opium trade in Humen,-

-Guangdong, ending in June 25 1839,just before the First Opium War in China. The observance was instituted by General Assembly Resolution of 7 December 1987.

Tanzania joins other countries in the world to mark the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking on Friday. Drug abuse is not only a Tanzanian problem; it is a global catastrophe that requires quick intervention lest it continues destroying the lives of our youth.

Tanzania has strongly defended its war against the international narcotics trade, citing its many efforts and successes. The Drug Control and Enforcement Authority ( has made significant in-roads in its fight against illicit drugs despite the country being named in a new US government report as being among ‘significant transit countries,’ for illicit drugs in the world.

This year the country's efforts were also acknowledged at the 63rd session of the United Nations Commission on Narcotics Drugs in March this year, where Tanzania was described as a 'role model' for many other African countries.

We had a special chance to show how Tanzania is combating illegal drugs at all levels--access, use and effects of abuse.

The country has cut the volume of heroin being smuggled into the country from Afghanistan by a whopping 90 per cent, and also upped its monitoring mechanisms for national production and distribution of marijuana.

The State Department named both Tanzania and Kenya ‘significant transit countries' for illicit drugs where domestic consumption was on the rise.’

“Tanzania's location, porous borders, and persistent corruption present challenges to drug interdiction. Traffickers exploit Tanzania's 854-mile coastline and inadequate port security," the report says.

It noted that while the Tanzanian government did not encourage the production or trafficking of illicit drugs, corruption and lack of training remained barriers to effective enforcement of anti-narcotics laws in the country.

On 26 June 1987, two important texts (Comprehensive Multidisciplinary Outline of Future Activities in Drug Abuse Control & Declaration of the International Conference on Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking) were adopted at the International Conference on Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, which was held in Vienna during 17-26 June 1987. The Conference recommended that an annual day should be observed to mark the importance of the fight against drug abuse and illicit trafficking. Both the dates 17 June and 26 June were suggested, and in the later meetings 26 June was chosen and written into the draft and final resolution.

The UN's 2007 World Drug Report puts the value of the illegal drug trade at US$322 billion a year. Campaigns, rallies, poster designing and many other programmes are conducted. People of different countries celebrate the day together. As drug use increases the day becomes more important.

‘Health for Justice. Justice for Health’, the theme for International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking 2019, highlighted that justice and health are two sides of the same coin when it comes to addressing drug problems.