Considering the increasing number of people who use drugs, the risk of drug use in their health and life, as well as problems faced by most countries in the world as a result of drug use and drug trafficking, the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1987 established this international day to raise awareness of the problem of drugs in the world.Within the celebration of this day, every year are organized campaigns by the Organization on Drugs and Crime at the United Nations (UNODC). [1] The motto of this year’s action is: “Build our LIFE, IDENTITY AND SOCIETY WITHOUT DRUGS”. Today drugs are a significant challenge for the whole society, especially for the young. It is thought that the  200 million people in world have used drugs at least once a year. There are 25 million people worldwide who are dependent on drugs. Each year 200,000 people worldwide die of diseases related to drug use.

European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) reports that in 2013, in Europe, 3.4% of deaths aged from 15-39 years are due to drug overdose. 66% of overdose deaths were due to use of opioids (heroin). 700,000 people in the European Union were at the substitutional treatment (methadone). [2]

Drug Trafficking is still the most profitable business in the world, connected with organized crime. Drugs penetrate into the economy with billions of euros related to money laundering and corruption.

Cannabis (marijuana) is the most commonly used illegal drug in the world. 70 million Europeans have tried marijuana at least once in their lives, while more than 3 million use cannabis daily. 80% of the seized drug in Europe is cannabis, while 78% of people in prison who possessed or used drugs, are related to cannabis.

In the Republic of Macedonia in 2013 the results of the Study on health-related behaviors in children (HBSC) shows that have used marijuana at least once in a lifetime: boys of which 4% are Macedonians, 3% Albanian and 2% girls at the age of 15 years. [3]

ESPAD survey conducted in Skopje with students aged 16 years, in 2012 showed that 8.7% of youth used marijuana at least once in life. 2.8% used cannabis 1-5 times over the last 30 days. [4]

An estimated 1.3 million people aged 15-64 in Europe (in 2013) are problematic users of opiates (heroin) (2) In the Republic of Macedonia estimated 10900 people inject drugs (mostly heroin). [5]

Illegal use of heroin makes users marginalized, unaccepted by society. Drugs affect the quality of life. These are mostly unemployed people with limited access to health, social and legal services. Stigma and discrimination against these persons is significantly expressed. Intravenous drug abuse is commonly associated with the risk of diseases that are transmitted by blood, such as hepatitis and HIV / AIDS.

In recent times, synthetic drugs are more prevalent among the young.

The problem of drug use becomes even greater, considering that daily discover new drugs. EMCDDA tracked 430 new types of drugs (psychoactive substances) of which 101 were recorded in 2014. Some of them such as synthetic opioids or hallucinogenic drugs are strongly pharmacologically active. Only a few grams of certain types of drugs are needed to make 10,000 doses. [6]

The Youth and drugs

Most affected by the problem of drug use are young, which influenced by their peers, begin to experiment with drugs, and without knowing where can drug use lead them. Worldwide, it is considered that the prevalence of drug use among young people has doubled- compared with the general population, while  the usage of marijuana is three times greater.

We live in a world where parents are overburdened with work responsibilities and have less time for their children. Children have impact of their peers or friends.

Today young people learn about new types of drugs also through social networks. On the Internet there are videos that show various types of drugs, as well as drug use. The Internet is a possibility for anonymous communication and selling drugs (darknet). Young people today can purchase drugs via Internet. UNODC has identified 650 sites that sell new psychoactive substances.

Among today’s youth are circulating often various information and misinformation about the positive effects of current drugs, but not for the negative effects. Of course, the negative effects on health are dependent of the type of drug, the dose and frequency of drug use. Illegal drugs can significantly affect both the physical and emotional development.

The use of drugs and alcohol among young is particularly risky, because the body (especially the brain) is still under development and the consequences of their use may be worrying. Children living in dysfunctional family relationships are at increased risk for drug use and other risky behavior.


  1. Leading a healthy lifestyle requires making the right choice in a favor of health.
  2. The young people should be given accurate information about drugs and the risks associated with the use of illegal drugs.
  3. Good family relationships represent the strongest protective factor for the prevention of drug use among young people, prevention of delinquency and risky sex. The close relationship between parents and children, joint spent time, monitoring by parents, expression of love for children and respecting the rules and setting limits (discipline) are important in building a strong and healthy person and preventing the use of drugs. [7]
  4. Resolving the problem of drug use requires the participation of many stakeholders (multi-sectoral approach), starting from the family, institutions and the wider community.
  5. The preventive activities should be carried out planned, continuous, consistent with the target groups and needs, and should be based on good practice.
  6. Special attention should be paid to the treatment of persons who are using drugs, and to reducing stigma and discrimination. Drug addiction is a chronic (long-term, recurrent) disease and as such should be treated.

Message to the youth:

Do not let drugs control your life!