Cooperation for Science, Health and Security Needed to Counter COVID-19 Impacts on World Drug Challenges

Knowing the facts about drugs can save lives. Drug use killed nearly half a million people in 2019 alone1—a tragic loss of life and future potential that could have been spared through evidence-based prevention and treatment, coupled with balanced, health-centred justice responses.

This year’s International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, on 26 June, is being observed as the world contends with the second year of the COVID-19 crisis.

The global pandemic has shown us how much our health and safety rely on science and verified information. The theme for World Drug Day 2021—“Share facts on drugs. Save lives” focuses on the power of facts and science to inform approaches to drugs, from individual decisions to effective health and security interventions and policies.

To fight misinformation and promote data-driven decision-making, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime is playing its part by supporting the international community with world-class research—a key component of our integrated assistance to countries in tackling the world drug problem.

Every year, the World Drug Report explores key trends in drug demand and supply, and their implications for individuals and societies. The 2021 edition highlights the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on drug markets and trafficking modes, as well as on drug use, and prevention and treatment services.