International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking falls on June 26

(Nabeela Waheed, Islamabad)

International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking falls on June 26 each year to raise awareness of the major problem that illicit drugs represent to society. This day is supported by individuals, communities and various organizations all over the world. In Pakistan, this year is also being observed on 26th June for against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking .It is time to awake call for every one-be it the government leaders, the NGOs or the general public – to join hands in fighting the menace for the sake of regional and global peace and for the sake of protecting the human society.

Pakistan is among the top three countries in global narcotic seizures. Pakistan is also a major route for certain precursors like acetic anhydride entering Afghanistan for conversion of opium to heroin. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimates that the annual revenue generated by Afghan opiate trafficking to and through Pakistan exceeds $1bn. This does not include the revenue from illicit trading in associated precursors which may be of a similar value.

Pakistan’s importance as a key trafficking route is illustrated by the large number of seizures made by its law-enforcement agencies. During the last 10 years, approximately 150 tons of morphine and heroin entered Pakistan per year, of which quantity 20 per cent was seized. Between 1996 and 2011, the authorities captured an average of 7,200kg of opium per annum, making Pakistan the top country of interception in the world .the available information on drug use in Pakistan is outdated and of questionable accuracy. Some estimates reveal that at least 80 tons of opium is consumed annually in Pakistan which accounts for six per cent of the global opiate consumer market and one-twentieth of total global heroin consumption (with five per cent of the world’s heroin users).

A current rate of HIV/Aids in Pakistan is alarming because the 100 per cent increase in injecting drug use between 2006 and 2011 is linked to a currently concentrated but localized HIV epidemic among injecting drug users. This, accompanied by high-risk behavior, could lead to an HIV epidemic in the wider population. The 2015 world drug report thematic focus is on alternative development, a long-term strategy aimed at developing alternative sources of income for farmers dependent on illicit drug cultivation. This activity is driven by many factors, including marginalization, the lack of security, and the social and political situations of rural communities.

Pakistan is also a signatory to all UN and Saarc Conventions on Narcotics, adding that MoUs have been signed with a number of countries boosting International cooperation in drug control.

“On this international drug day, let us reiterate our resolve to not only make Pakistan drug and violence free but also play a lead role in the international community’s drive to combat the menace of illicit drugs and narcotics,


 

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