When some governments are looking to decriminalize and legalize the use of recreational cannabis despite the International Drug Control Conventions (1961,1971, 1988 and the CRC) wisely laid down to protect the health and welfare of the youth and mankind, the U.N. International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is the right time to seriously consider the current trend of the drug problem and draw the right conclusion.
1. Worldwide, according to the latest 2019 World Drug Report released by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in 2017 an estimated 271 million people (5.5 % of the global population) aged 15-64, had used drugs in the previous year. While this is similar to the 2016 estimate, a longer-term view reveals that the number of people who use drugs is now 30 % higher than it was in 2009.
The most widely used drug globally continues to be cannabis, with an estimated 188 million people having used this drug in 2017.
In 2017, around 53.4 million people worldwide had used opioids in the previous year, 56 % more than the estimate for 2016 with a higher prevalence in Africa, Asia, Europe and North America. The opioids are responsible for two thirds of the 585.000 people who died as a result of drug use in 2017. Globally, 11 million people injected drugs in 2017, of whom 1.4 million live with HIV and 5.6 million with hepatitis C.
Improved research and more precise data have revealed that worldwide the adverse health consequences of drug use are more severe and widespread than previously thought. Globally, some 35 million people are estimated to suffer from drug use disorders and require treatment services.
2. In Europe, based on the 2019 EMCDDA* report 24.7 million of 15-64 aged adults used cannabis in 2017. Indeed, cannabis is one of the longest-established drugs in Europe. It is the most commonly used illicit drug with nearly 20 % of those in the 15-24 age group reporting having used cannabis in the last year.
« Cannabis remains the most widely used illicit drug in Europe. Some 17.5 million young Europeans (15–34 years) are estimated to have used cannabis in the last year (EU-28). Around 1% of adults (15–64 years) in the EU are estimated to be daily, or almost daily, cannabis users. In 2017, some 155 000 people entered drug treatment in Europe for problems related to this drug, of those around 83 000 were entering treatment for the first time. Cannabis is now the substance most often named by new entrants to specialist drug treatment services as their main reason for contact…Cannabis contains many different chemicals, the best known being Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — largely responsible for the intoxicating effects of cannabis — and cannabidiol (CBD).
From a harm reduction perspective, it will also be advisable to monitor the concentration of CBD in cannabis products. Finally, having the ability to distinguish illicit cannabis products from cannabis-based medicinal products and unregulated CBD oils will be important for law enforcement in many jurisdictions. » Lisbon 25.06.2019 (News release No 5/2019)
3. What About FDFE?
To celebrate the U.N. International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking in Europe some hundred Say No To Drugs FDFE affiliated groups and associations in Europe, all members being volunteers, did an extensive information and education action, from the schools to the streets and everywhere, to raise the awareness of the youth, parents, public, teachers, educators, law enforcement, army, governmental agencies, on the harmful effects of the drug use, through various activities. Thus:
-Our volunteers in 125 cities across Europe were participating, from Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine and United Kingdom,
-no less than 670 helpers were in actions,
-some 389 000 booklets The Truth About Drugs were distributed,
-2 750 shops were visited and participated to the drug prevention activities,
-82 events, 250 lectures and beside the distributions, all type of activities were organized such as cyclo-run across cities, marathon, motorcycle rally, bicycle crusade, football tournament, artistic competition, concerts, flashmob with 150 participants, and more… accompanied by articles in newspapers, radios and TVs interviews.
The purpose: to reach youth with the truth about drugs before they start and to educate them before they are reached by the dealers so they can made an informed decision on the most destructive element of our society. Indeed, its stands as proof that the most effective weapon in combating drug abuse is education!
Who has ever thought the drug use could be safe or that there is a « soft drug »or that he keeps control on its use, better think twice !
(*) EMCCDA: the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (Lisbon – Portugal)