President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday said that "attention should be focused on enabling addicts become productive members of the society".
On the occasion of the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, the president, in a message to the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) of India, said, “I am happy to learn that the world will commemorate the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking on 26 June."
By adopting a resolution on December 7, 1987, the UN General Assembly took an initiative to observe 26 June as the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking as an expression of its determination to strengthen action and cooperation to achieve the goal of an international society free of drug abuse.
Pointing at the seriousness of the issue, the president said, "Drug abuse is a psycho-social-medical problem requiring a holistic approach and comprehensive treatment programme."
"Attention should be focused on enabling addicts become productive members of the society by making them drug free, crime free and gainfully employed," he said.
"Generating continuous and sustained awareness about the harmful effects of drug abuse is also important. Stress should be on mobilization of community resources and greater community participation," the president added.
Talking about the role of law enforcement agencies, he said, "Apart from this, the law enforcement agencies should be sensitized to the needs of victims of substance abuse to enable them to be rehabilitated and re-integrated into society."
In India, the NCB is the nodal authority for coordination of actions of various ministries, departments and states in respect of matters relating to drugs.
"I extend my best wishes to the NCB and other law enforcement agencies on this occasion. I urge all stakeholders to unitedly address the problem of drug abuse in a holistic and sensitive manner.”
The date, 26 June, was chosen to commemorate Lin Zexu’s dismantling of the opium trade in Humen, Guangdong, just before the First Opium War in China.
According to the UN statistics, 230 million people around the world are using drugs. The UN World Drug report 2007 stated that drugs worth around $322 billion are traded worldwide every year.