International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking

26 June 2013

Brussels, 26 June 2013

Press Release

As the world celebrates the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, the World Customs Organization (WCO) calls on its 179 Members to demonstrate once again that the Customs community is mobilized to combat this scourge in solidarity with other organizations forming part of the United Nations System.

By Resolution 42/112 of 7 December 1987, the United Nations General Assembly decided to observe 26 June as the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, as an expression of its determination to strengthen action and cooperation to achieve the goal of an international society free of drug abuse.

Marking this day provides an opportunity for the WCO to recall the significant role played by Customs administrations, which are responsible for more than half of all drug seizures worldwide.

"It is vital that we unite and coordinate our day-to-day efforts to combat, in all its forms and on every front, the creeping poison that is illicit drug trafficking, whose spread around the world is fuelled by globalization," said WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya, who is counting on Customs to actively combat this form of illicit trade.

"I call on governments, the media and civil society to do everything possible to raise awareness of the harm caused by illicit drugs and to help prevent people profiting from their use," said United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon in his message to mark the 2013 International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

In assessing the seizures made by Customs administrations, 2012 can be considered a good year, with over 43,000 reports recorded in the WCO Central Enforcement Network (CEN), covering in total 1,768 metric tonnes of drugs of all categories. The breakdown by type is as follows:

  • Seizures of cannabis in all forms (resin, herbal and oil) totalled 1,486 tonnes.
  • Over 72 tonnes of cocaine were intercepted.
  • More than 11 tonnes of opiate products were intercepted (heroin, opium morphine and poppy straw).
  • The overall quantity of amphetamines, methamphetamines and MDMA (ecstasy) (psychotropic substances) was over 44 tonnes.

As part of its drug enforcement programme, the WCO works closely with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and actively supports initiatives aimed at raising public awareness of the drugs problem.

The WCO is counting on the active participation of its Members to combat illicit drug trafficking as part of Customs' commitment to protect consumer health and safety, while dealing effectively with criminals involved in this illicit and dangerous trade.

More Information