Drug trafficking, once viewed largely as a social and criminal problem, has transformed in recent years into a major threat to the health and safety of citizens in every country. In an effort to create international awareness about the abuse and trafficking of illicit drugs, the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) established June 26 as the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.
Since 1987, the UNODC has encouraged global organizations to take an active role in combating illicit drug abuse and trafficking. Through this awareness campaign, businesses around the world can work with the UNODC to create drug prevention programs within their communities. As such, June 26 is an annual reminder to organizations around the world to continue to participate in awareness campaigns to mobilize support for drug control.
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Often associated with rock stars and the “social elite,” cocaine has a long history of use dating back to its origins as a medicinal compound in the late 19th century. Cocaine use reached its peak during the disco era in the 1970s and 80s. Recently, there has been a resurgence of cocaine use, and its users are as varied as the places where it’s largely consumed. According to a report by the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), cocaine is now widely used by both the lower and middle class in Europe – with the United Kingdom (UK) seeing a significant increase of users over the past decade. The ACMD report suggested that approximately 1 in 10 people aged 16 to 59 had tried the drug at some point in their lives – making cocaine the second most popular illicit substance in the UK, after marijuana.
A root cause of this trend seems to be the discrepancies in the types of cocaine available on the market. There are two general categories of cocaine quality: inexpensive low-purity and expensive high-purity. According to a report by the ACMD, the cost of cocaine, on average, decreased from £101 a gram in 2009 to £54 in 2013 due to a decline in overall purity. This report reveals that in four years, the price dropped to roughly half the cost, which in-turn places this drug – once viewed as a party-drug for the elite – into the hands of the masses. As such, 23 percent of the active drug-users in the UK use cocaine, which accounts for roughly 750,000 people.
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