International Day Against Drug Abuse And Illicit Trafficking 2022: Theme, History And Significance

The International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, also known as World Drug Day, is conducted by the United Nations. It is observed on June 26 annually. The global event highlights the physical and psychological impact of substance abuse, drug overdose deaths and drug-related humanitarian crises with an aim to eliminate the menace from society.

The event spreads awareness about the dangers of drug abuse not just to adults but also to children, who are the most vulnerable. Attention is brought to the issue of access to controlled illicit drugs for essential pain relief medications and scientific purposes. Below, we look at the theme, history and significance of the day for this year.


“Addressing drug challenges in health and humanitarian crises” is the theme for 2022’s celebration of the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. The event will address the issue of transnational drug challenges, as noted on the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) website. The current pandemic, the Ukraine-Russia war, the refugee crisis and communities devastated by violence will also be in focus.


During the 93rd plenary meeting of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on December 7, 1987, resolution 42/112, adopted on the reports of the third committee of the General Assembly, was passed.

The date of June 26, was chosen to commemorate the campaign by Lin Zexu, a prominent Chinese politician and philosopher from 18th-19th century China who destroyed, starting June 3, 1839, about 1.2 million kilograms of opium illegally imported by British traders into China. Zexu’s successful campaign had concluded in 23 days.


The UNODC has put forward a #CareInCrises campaign for this year’s celebration of World Drug Day. It highlights data from its annual World Drug Report and urges governments, world citizenry, international organisations and each stakeholder to prevent drug abuse, provide treatment, and restrict the illicit drug supply. Data based on research and evidence is shared with the stakeholders, and suggestions and solutions are provided to tackle the drug menace.

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