Sunday, June 13, 2010

International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking (26 June, 2010)

Health is the theme of this year's world drug campaign, to be launched on International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking (26 June, 2010).

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is leading the international campaign to raise awareness about the major challenge that illicit drugs represent to society as a whole, and especially to the young.

The goal of the campaign "Think health - not drugs" is to mobilize support and to inspire people to act against drug abuse. The campaign encourages young people to put their health first and not to take drugs.

Drugs have the power both to improve and to damage health, depending on the type of drugs used, the quantity consumed and the purpose for which they are taken. For example, while morphine can relieve pain, heroin can be highly addictive. Such examples illustrate the need to control drugs.

Drugs under international control include amphetamine-type stimulants, cannabis, coca/cocaine, hallucinogens, opiates and hypnotic sedatives, all of which have immediate physical effects. While some of the physical effects might sound pleasant, they do not last long. Drugs can also severely hinder psychological and emotional development, particularly in young people. In addition, some users risk addiction.

Drug use is preventable. UNODC has developed prevention activities that provide the public, particularly young people, with the information, skills and opportunities they need to make healthy choices, including the choice to avoid using harmful drugs.

The world drug campaign calls on young people, who are twice as likely as adults to take drugs, to protect their health.

Parents, teachers and other interested individuals can also join the campaign. There are a number of ways to get involved, including providing information, by spreading the word about the campaign and organizing outreach or institutional events to mark International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking on 26 June.

We can all play a role in promoting health in our communities.

Signs of drug use
Although there are certain emotional and physical symptoms of substance use, do not immediately assume that the person is on drugs. There could be other reasons why he or she behaves unusually.

Emotional and social signs
• Moodiness, excitement, anger, hostility, depression
• Constant lying and stealing
• Refusing to admit to the harmful effects of drugs
• Avoiding old friends or people who could confront them about behaviour changes
• Being secretive about phone calls
• Having friends they do not want you to meet or talk about
• Being evasive about their whereabouts
• Loss of motivation
• No interest in everyday life
• Playing truant from school

Physical signs
• Drowsiness
• Trembling
• Red eyes, dilated pupils
• Lack of interest in personal hygiene and appearance
• Slurred speech
• Loss of, or increase in appetite
• Uncoordinated movements
• Circles under the eyes
• Irregular sleeping habits
• Frequent colds and coughs
• Weight loss

(source: www.unodc.org)

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