What is International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking?

Saturday 26th June 2021 is International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. In this blog, we are going to take a look at what this day is all about, its origins and some of the global trends and facts on drug use today.

Back in December 1987, the United Nations General Assembly selected June 26th as the date to mark International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking each year. This day was chosen to be an expression of the UN’s determination to strengthen action and co-operation to achieve the goal of a global society completely free of drug abuse. On this day every year, the aim is to raise awareness of the key issues and challenges that illicit drugs pose to society.


The theme for 2021 International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is ‘Share Facts on Drugs, Save Lives’. There are lots of misinformation around drugs out there, and this year’s theme is all about combatting this and help share the facts on drugs. This includes the consequences and health risks of using drugs, the solutions to help tackle global drug issues, as well as evidence-based prevention, treatment, and care.

There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has raised public awareness on health to a whole new level. This includes the measures for keeping yourself healthy but importantly also protecting others. We have seen a resurge in the sense of global community and solidarity, with everyone pulling together to help beat this virus and get back to normality. On the back of this spirit, the hope and aim is that on June 26th, everyone will play their own individual part and take a strong stand to oppose misinformation and unreliable sources when it comes to sharing information on drugs, and commit to sharing 100% truthful and science-backed data on drugs in order to help save lives.


With the theme this year being ‘Share Facts on Drugs, Save Lives’, we are going to share some facts with you based on the UNODC World Drug Report 2020:

  • 269 million people used drugs worldwide in 2018, 30% more than in 2009.
  • Over 35 million people suffer from drug use disorders around the world.
  • As of 2018, Cannabis is the most used substance worldwide, with an estimated 192 million people using it globally.
  • Cannabis is also the main drug that brings people into problems with the law, accounting for more than 50% of drug law offences cases
  • The most harmful drugs worldwide over the last 10 years however is still opioids. The total opioid related deaths increased 71%. This included a 92% increase among females in comparison to a 63% increase among males.
  • Adolescents and young adults account for the majority of drug users worldwide, while they are also the most vulnerable to the harmful effects of drugs. This is due to the quantity used as well as the fact that their brains are still developing.
  • Limited education, poverty and social marginalisation all continue to be major factors contributing to an increased risk of drug use disorder as well as being a barrier for people to receive treatment.


  • COVID-19 has impacted the drug market substantially. It has caused shortages of drugs available, which therefore leads to increased prices and reduced purity.
  • The rising unemployment and reduced opportunities as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic also has made people more vulnerable to drug use
  • COVID-19 pandemic has led to an opioid shortage. People may then turn to other substances such as alcohol, benzodiazepines or mixing with synthetic drugs.
  • In reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic governments may reduce drug-related budgets.


If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction, get help today. We can help you recover in a healthy, friendly environment and beat your addiction. Do not hesitate to contact one of our counsellors today for information by calling +353 (21) 488 7710 for Cork or +353 (1) 639 2962 for Dublin, or alternatively you can email us at info@taborgroup.ie. We can help you.