World Drug Day: Leaders pledge action to win war on drugs

New Zealand Customs deal with illicit Drugs Photo: AFP

World leaders and officials have pledged action to win the war against drugs on the occasion of the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, which fell on June 26.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for following a path with Chinese characteristics to contain drug-related problems and win the war on drugs in the new era.

Xi, also general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remark in a written instruction released on Monday. 

The General Assembly of the United Nations decided on December 7, 1987, to observe June 26 as the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, as an expression of its determination to strengthen action and cooperation to achieve the goal of an international society free of drug abuse.

Based on progress made last year, the theme for 2018 is: "Listen First - Listening to children and youth is the first step to help them grow healthy and safe."

Xi said drug control matters to the national security, the rise and fall of the nation and the welfare of the people, and the fight against drugs cannot pause as long as they exist.

In 2017, the number of known drug users in China rose 1.9 percent to 2.6 million, according to the Beijing News. Of these, some 60 percent consumed synthetic drugs and 38 percent used opioids such as heroin.

Laos drug officials torched around 40 kilograms of heroin and tens of thousands of "yaba" pills on Tuesday, a small but significant fraction of the narcotics burned on the day in a region awash with illegal substances.

New Zealand Customs destroyed 959 kilograms of illicit drugs and packaging. The drugs filled 59 rubbish bags and 15 boxes, which were destroyed in a secure environment.

According to the World Drug Report 2017, about 29.5 million people globally suffer from drug use disorders and opioids are the most harmful. A growing number of teenagers and young adults are becoming addicted to drugs.

The report also finds that drug users might risk exposing to HIV and hepatitis C which can increase financial burden due to high treatment costs.

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