Posted: Friday, June 26, 2020. 3:27 pm CST.
The day is an expression of the UN’s determination to strengthen action and cooperation to achieve the goal of an international society free of drug abuse.
This year’s theme is “Better Knowledge for Better Care,” which emphasizes the need to improve the understanding of the world drug problem and how, in turn, better knowledge will foster greater international cooperation for countering its impact on health, governance, and security.
According to the World Drug Report released today by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, around 269 million people used drugs worldwide in 2018, which is 30 percent more than in 2009, while over 35 million people suffer from drug use disorders.
The report analyzes the impact of COVID-19 on the drug markets, and while its effects are not yet fully known, border closures and other restrictions linked to the pandemic have already caused shortages of drugs on the street, leading to increased prices and reduced purity. Consequently, drug users have been switching substances and/or increasingly accessing drug treatment. Furthermore, it stated that the rising unemployment and reduced opportunities caused by the pandemic are also likely to disproportionately affect the poorest, making them more vulnerable to drug use and also to drug trafficking and cultivation in order to earn money.
In Belize, drug consumption varies, however, alcohol is the predominantly used substance followed by marijuana, tobacco, over-the-counter medications, stimulants, and synthetic substances among others.
The National Drug Abuse Control Council (NDACC) within the Ministry of Health is responsible for the reduction of the demand of drugs as mandated by the Misuse of Drug Act. NDACC registers over 400 drug user clients who access the Ministry’s outreach services countrywide through its Rehabilitation and Treatment Unit. Additionally, NDACC’s efforts to reduce the demand of drugs is executed through drug prevention education, treatment and rehabilitation, community empowerment, research and information, legal reform and international cooperation.
Annually, NDACC provides drug prevention education to over 16,000 students countrywide from preschool to tertiary level.
The Ministry also participates in over 100 community empowerment activities through health and educational fairs.
The Ministry of Health through NDACC encourages individuals, non-profit organizations, and the private sector to get involved in acquiring Better Knowledge of substance abuse to access Better Care.
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