International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking

Today is the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. This awareness day, created in 1987 by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly was created to work towards a society free of drugs and violence. Each year the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) promotes a theme of health to raise awareness about the global problem of drugs.

The UN Secretary General notes that “drug abuse and illicit trafficking continue to have a profoundly negative impact on development and stability across the world. The billions of dollars generated from illicit drugs fuel terrorist activities and abet other crimes such as human trafficking and the smuggling of arms and people.” These kinds of activities put children at an even greater risk for exposure to violence. The National Survey on Children’s Exposure to Violence reminds us that each year American children are exposed to violence, crime and abuse in their communities and at home. They are more at risk for developing the following:

  • Psychological health outcomes
  • Physical health outcomes
  • Academic difficulties and failure
  • Behavioral problems
  • Delinquency and offending
  • Poly-victimization

Substance Abuse Resource Guide: Children Witnessing Violence and Alcohol and Substance Abuse supports the potential development of these risks. Their research suggests that there is a strong link between childhood exposure to violence and substance abuse. There is also evidence demonstrating a relationship between alcohol and drug use among perpetrators of domestic violence and violence committed against children. Finally, it also notes that there is increased risk for effects of childhood exposure to violence to lead to a link between delinquency and childhood maltreatment.

Continued awareness can help prevent and protect kids from these risks. Children exposed to violence are more likely than their peers to abuse or become dependent on a large range of substances/drugs. Awareness about the negative effects of drug and alcohol seem to be making an impact. A recent survey taken in Wisconsin shows that drug use is declining in teens!

Kenneth Ginsburg, M.D., MS Ed, FAAP, a pediatrician from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), talks about the importance of building resilience to improve prevention of risk. His seven C’s of resilience are:

  • Competence
  • Confidence
  • Connection
  • Character
  • Contribution
  • Coping
  • Control

You can learn more about these tips here.

Today is just a reminder of the importance of raising awareness to continue to build resilience and improve the health and protection of our nation’s children.

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One Response

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