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The Global Community Recognizes International Day Against Drug Abuse

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June 26th was International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. Started in 1987, this international day of observance is dedicated to creating awareness about drug abuse, not just from a state or even country perspective, but on a global scale.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) initiated the annual campaign 27 years ago as a “reminder of the goals agreed to by Member States of creating an international society free of drug abuse.”

Using themes to advocate against substance abuse

The UNODC has promoted the concept over the years using different themes, ranging from those meant to appeal to young people, like “Sports Against Drugs” from 2001, to those of encouragement, like 2004’s “Drugs: Treatment Works.” Since 2010, the UNODC has focused on health as the ongoing theme in the campaign against drug abuse. This year, the banner on their website sends a message of optimism. It reads, “A Message of Hope: Drug use disorders are preventable and treatable.”

The UNODC also published a 60-second video advocating their cause. The video has no dialog, just four young people and a progressive music track. Initially they start as happy and healthy, but things quickly change. Their skin transforms from glowing to dull; their eyes sink and develop dark bags underneath; their clothes become tattered and dirty; and track marks and sores become visible. The once happy lot finishes as broken, tired and sad, a powerful allegory of what happens during addiction.

Though the video spotlights the destructive path of substance abuse, it’s important to reflect on the positive messages of the campaign too: addiction is preventable and treatable.

Prevention and substance abuse

In 2007, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) published a study that found adolescents who spoke with their parents about substance abuse and/or were exposed to prevention messages at school were less likely than those who were not exposed to prevention measures to use tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs.

Treatment for substance abuse

Committing to sobriety after addiction can be an uphill battle, but with the right resources and the right support structure, it’s often described by those in recovery as a new chance at life. If you’re ready to overcome your addiction, or if you’re looking for help for a loved one who is, The Watershed can help. We’re here to talk 24/7. Give us a call: 1-800-861-1768.

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