Today, we would like to commemorate the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking and this year’s theme “Evidence is Clear: Invest in Prevention”. With this year’s theme, we not only raise awareness of prevention but also highlight the proven effectiveness of prevention and hence the need for sustainable investments.

In light of this year’s World Drug Report launch, the Commission on Narcotic Drugs organised a special side event. WFAD was honoured to contribute to the event with an intervention. The transcript of our intervention is as follows:

Thank you Chair, distinguished delegates

Commemorating and grateful for this year’s theme of the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, “Evidence is Clear: Invest in Prevention”, WFAD congratulates UNODC on their detailed report and reiterates the critical need for sustained investments in prevention while enhancing access to and integration of gender-disaggregated data in prevention, treatment, and recovery.

In recent years, increased normalisation of substance use and decreased perception of risk have led to an increase in use among youth in our communities worldwide. Simultaneously, market developments have diversified supply, ranging from cannabis to psychoactive substances. Various regulatory changes have been introduced to counter the issue, varying from restrictive law enforcement to legalisation. However, it is concerning that investments and research in demand reduction, including prevention, treatment, and recovery, are often overlooked in favour of supply reduction efforts due to their long-term nature.

Despite this, prevention, treatment, and recovery are vital for building healthy communities where protective factors are strengthened, services are amplified, and people are empowered. It is our obligation to adhere to Article 33 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child which mandates the protection of children and the establishment of Substance Abuse Free environments and to uphold the Human Right to Health. Every individual deserves the right to security, health care services, and medical care while ensuring their dignity is respected. The Human Right to Health is strengthened by sustainable and evidence-based prevention, equal access to adequate treatment, and recovery-oriented systems of care.

However, only with increased availability and integration of gender-disaggregated data can we improve services and advocate for the long-term investments needed, further integration of evidence-driven prevention, treatment, and recovery policies and practices. Investing in prevention is not just a strategy; it is a commitment to future generations and the health of our global community.

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