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Yes, it may not have the snappiest title but the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is a key plank in the United Nations’ war on drugs.

Originally instigated by a resolution of a special session on drugs of the UN’s General Assembly in 1987, the annual awareness day was founded to mark the centenary of China’s early efforts to combat the trade in opium – widely regarded as the start of the international war on drugs.

Celebrated each year on June 26th, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime uses the commemorative day to highlight the dangers of drug use and their illegal trade and provides educational material to teachers and public officials all over the world to help spread the message about the extreme cultural and economic harm the trade in drugs is still doing across the globe one hundred years after the war on drugs was initially launched in Shanghai around the start of the 20th Century.

The importance of the strategy was reinforced in April 2016 when the UN decided to hold a General Assembly on drugs to mark a milestone in the progress of an earlier policy document which called on members states to combat both drug demand and supply, while improving access to treatment for addicts.

Each year the Office on Drugs and Crime chooses a new theme to promote – from “Sports Against Drugs” in 2001 and “Think Health – Not Drugs” in 2010 to “Listen First!” last year.

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