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26 June: International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking

26 June marks the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. This is a day for governments and parliaments throughout the world to reflect on the devastating impact of illicit drug markets and efforts to address them have had on the health and human rights, on our communities and in particular the most marginalized amongst us.

In recent years, there has been growing recognition that many drug control policies and related enforcement practices have failed to deliver on their promise to eradicate illicit drug production or problematic use. As various UN organizations have observed, they have not stemmed the creation of an enormous criminal black market that has fuelled corruption, violence and instability and threatened basic human rights, democratic governance, legal economies and adversely affected citizen security, public health and the environment.

I thus call on all Council of Europe member states and parliaments to implement policies that work, in particular the operational recommendations on demand reduction and related measures, including prevention and treatment as well as other health-related issues, decided upon just two months ago at the special session of the UN General Assembly on the world drug problem. It is our responsibility to mark this day in a constructive manner.