The International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is observed every year across the world on June 26 to raise awareness of major problem that illicit drugs. It also seeks to highlight expression of United Nations’ (UN) determination to strengthen action and cooperation to achieve goal of international society free of drug abuse. The official theme for year 2019 is “Health for Justice. Justice for Health”. It aims to highlight that health and justice are two sides of the same coin when it comes to addressing drug problems.
The International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking was officially instituted by UN General Assembly (UNGA) by adopting resolution 42/112 in December 1987.
Why June 26? The date was chosen to commemorate Lin Zexu’s (Chinese scholar and official of the Qing dynasty) dismantling of opium trade in Humen, Guangdong, just before First Opium War in China (1839–42).
Purpose of this day: It recognizes that despite continued and increased efforts by international community, the world drug problem continues to constitute serious threat to public health, well-being of humanity and safety, in particular young people and national security and sovereignty of States and that it undermines socio-economic and political stability and sustainable development.
It also seeks to encourage United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to continue their work on international drug control. It also urges all Governments to provide fullest possible financial and political support to enable UNODC to continue, expand and strengthen its operational and technical cooperation activities, within its mandates.