The two most commonly used legal drugs are responsible for 12% of all deaths worldwide!
Editorial by Montse Rafel, Director General – As every year, we, the members of the Dianova network, pause in our daily commitment. We pause in tribute to all those who are no longer among us because of drugs. It is a day to pay tribute but also to renew our commitment to help those suffering from addiction, because as stated in this year's UNODC campaign: drug use disorders are preventable and treatable.
Drugs can affect everyone, whether you are a talented actor, as Philip Seymour who died of overdose in February, or among the hundreds of thousands of people who die from drugs every year. According to UN figures, some 253,000 people die every year because of illicit drugs worldwide.
On the occasion of the International Day "Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking" we would also recall that illegal drugs are not the only ones capable of killing. The two most commonly used legal drugs – alcohol and tobacco – are an incredibly dangerous cocktail, responsible for 12% of all deaths worldwide..
We would also like to remind that this day is also an opportunity to launch events and advocate for policies which are not related to UNODC, such as "Support don't Punish" a campaign which has been endorsed by more than a hundred NGOs worldwide. The campaign calls for more investments in efficient and effective drug policies, based on decriminalizing drug users and eliminating laws that undermine efficient public health services.
Nonetheless, we would like to join the awareness message launched by UNODC and VNGOC about the growing problem posed by drugs to the whole society and especially to young people. But we deem it appropriate to extend this message to every single drug, whether it has been legalized or not, and not only those under international control.
Together with UNODC, we reiterate our conviction that drug use disorders are preventable and treatable, that drug abuse is not a path of no return and that we must endeavor to provide young people with information, prevention tools and adequate assistance to help them find, within themselves, the resources necessary to achieve success in their personal development and social integration – as defined in Dianova's organizational vision.
Last but not least, we urge politicians and decision makers to implement effective responses grounded on balanced, cooperative and integrated approaches that take into account both demand and supply reduction. We demand greater prevention, treatment and rehabilitation efforts and to bridge the gap between science and clinical practice in order to facilitate a dialogue between the scientific community and policy makers. Most importantly, we urge them to reckon with social cohesion and inclusion.