Today is the UN International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, or World Drug Day. The theme for the day is “better facts for better care”, a theme that reflects the need for solutions based on scientific evidence to combat a problem that for decades have been ridden with myths, fear and ignorance.
World Drug Report 2020
The UN uses the Word Drug Day to launch its latest Word Drug Report 2020, a 6 booklet long contribution to the body of knowledge in the field. The report estimates that there were 269 million drug users globally in 2018, up 30 per cent from 2009. It also shows that more people are using drugs, and that there are more drugs and more types of drugs than ever before. At the same time, if we take into consideration the growth in population world-wide, the percentage of users in the world is only slightly higher than 10 years ago. Even so we must make sure that the users and their friends and families are getting proper treatment and support, and first and foremost there needs to be a stronger focus on prevention in the years to come. This is also communicated by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime that estimates that for 1$ spent on drug prevention, at least 10$ can be saved in future health, social and crime costs.
The silent majority
The World Drug Report 2020 shows that worldwide, drug use is more widespread in developed countries than in developing countries, and we know that increasing wealth is linked to rising drug use. However, the poorest suffer the largest burden of disorders because of insufficient health and treatment services among other things. This is why FORUT has made it an explicit goal to combat drug use in developing countries. Drug use is a development problem!
The rising number of drug users is indeed troubling, but still most people, in fact almost 95 percent of the global population, do not use drugs! FORUT, alongside our network of allies in Drug Policy Futures, are taking responsibility in voicing the opinions and interests of this majority that wants their communities, their families and their own lives to be free from drugs and drug-related harm.
Better knowledge, yes, but we know enough already
The UN theme “better knowledge for better” care is indeed a relevant one. At the same time, in the report People’s Voice. The Roar of the Silent Majority Drug Policy Futures shows that although there is always a need for more knowledge, in fact there is already enough scientific evidence and also a clear global consensus in place to rid the world of drug problems. As the report says:
“There is no need for more words or declarations. Unless the implementation and the recommendations are given more attention, ineffective and harmful solutions to drug use and its consequences will continue to grow like weeds. We need to act now”
FORUT together with Drug Policy Futures will continue to push for the global action needed.