World Drug Day 2023

The theme for WORLD DRUG DAY or International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is People first: stop stigma and discrimination, strengthen prevention.

According to UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime), the world drug problem is a complex issue that affects millions of people worldwide. Many people who use drugs face stigma and discrimination, which can further harm their physical and mental health and prevent them from accessing the help they need. The UNODC recognizes the importance of taking a people-centered approach to drug policies, with a focus on human rights, compassion, and evidence-based practices.

The aim of this year’s World Drug Day campaign is to raise awareness about the importance of treating people who use drugs with respect and empathy, providing evidence-based, voluntary services for all, offering alternatives to punishment, prioritizing prevention, and leading with compassion. The campaign also aims to combat stigma and discrimination against people who use drugs and unequal gender norms by promoting language and attitudes that are respectful and non-judgmental.

The World Drug Report 2022 provides an in-depth analysis of global drug markets and examines the nexus between drugs and the environment within the bigger picture of the Sustainable Development Goals, climate change, and environmental sustainability. The Report is aimed not only at fostering greater international cooperation to counter the impact of the world drug problem on health, governance, and security but also, with its special insights, at assisting Member States in anticipating and addressing threats from drug markets and mitigating their consequences.

Source: UNOCD 

Provision for treatment in South Africa

Improving substance use disorders (SUD) treatment provision is included in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals for 2030. However, treatment availability remains severely constrained in South Africa, a country where there is a high prevalence of substance use (SU) and SUDs.

Although demographic data on SU are limited in South Africa, nationally 10.3% of the adult population (15 years and older) are estimated to consume alcohol at harmful levels (16.5% of men and 4.6% of women) and 8.6% (13.3% of men and 4.1% of women) are estimated to use illicit drugs. In this context, illicit drug use is mainly driven by cannabis, followed by Mandrax (methaqualone), amphetamine-type stimulants such as methamphetamine, and opiates. Evidence further suggests that a substantial proportion (13.3%) of South Africans meet diagnostic criteria for a SUD, with alcohol use disorder being the most common type of SUD experienced. 

Despite the prevalence of SUDs in South Africa, treatment availability is limited with less than 5% of individuals struggling with SUDs ever accessing treatment. These include treatment infrastructure constraints, with South Africa’s SUD treatment system limited to 86 treatment sites that provide about 20,000 outpatient and residential treatment episodes annually.

Source: ASCP Journal 

Badisa programmes for substance-use disorders

The Badisa programmes for substance use disorders are committed to excellent service to persons with substance problems. The multidisciplinary teams are trained in substance dependence and offer evidence-based programmes. It is our vision to help persons to free themselves so that they can genuinely live again and become fully functional citizens in society. The expected sharp rise in the misuse of substances over the next few years means we will need to act proactively by implementing prevention programmes. 

This would involve the following, among others:

  • Inform the community about the risk factors and protective factors of substance misuse.
  • Empower the community with information.
  • Help the community to stand together and fight against the availability of substances.
  • Help the community to send clear messages about acceptable norms and standards.

Badisa programmes for substance use disorders: