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Press Release – 26 June International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking

26 June is International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, and this year the theme selected by the United Nations is 'Listen First'. Listen First is an initiative highlighting how listening to children and youth is the first step to helping them grow up healthy and safe, reducing risky behaviours and drug use.  More information about the Listen First campaign can be found at

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) World Drug Report 2016 shows a rise in the number of problem drug users from 27 to 29 million people aged 15-64, showing that drug abuse continues to be a growing problem worldwide. Children and adolescents who use drugs are often affected by vulnerabilities beyond their control such as poverty and exposure to violence, growing up in homes with a history of substance abuse, and peer pressure. High unemployment, poverty and violent crime rates in South Africa mean that our youth are especially at risk of drug abuse, which could have long lasting negative effects on their mental and physical wellbeing. The earlier children start to experiment with drugs, the more likely they are to develop drug dependence later in life.

SAFMH would like to encourage parents, caregivers, educators and government to make the mental and physical wellbeing of all children and youth in South Africa a priority, and to provide young people with safe and supportive environments that can help them make informed decisions about drug use. 



Marthé Viljoen

SAFMH Programme Manager Information & Awareness

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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