“Listen First” is the theme of this year’s International Day against Drug Abuse

poster of the campaign“Listen First – Listening to children and youth is the first step to help them grow healthy and safe” is the main message of 2017’s International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking commemorated today all over the world.

To mark the date, the United Nations (UN) is calling on all countries to honour their commitments to address the scourge and to ensure that steps to do so are consistent with human rights and promote equality, peace, security and sustainable development.

“Despite the risks and challenges inherent in tackling this global problem, I hope and believe we are on the right path, and that together we can implement a coordinated, balanced and comprehensive approach that leads to sustainable solutions,” said UN Secretary-Genera António Guterres. In his message, the UN chief also recalled the special session on the World Drug Problem, convened by the UN General Assembly, where Governments agreed upon a series of steps which are more effective and humane, and leaves no one behind.

In turn, the Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) recalled that “once viewed as a marginal actor on the development stage, drugs and crime are now viewed as a disturbing obstruction to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, particularly Goal 3 on health and Goal 16 on peaceful societies”.

The date is observed since 1987, when the UN General Assembly chose to express its determination to strengthen action and cooperation to achieve the goal of an international society free of drug abuse.

It consists of initiatives to increase support for prevention of drug use that is based on science and is thus an effective investment in the well-being of children and youth, their families and their communities and to raise awareness of the major problem that illicit drugs represent to society.