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Doing drug duty - 26/06/2009

Heroin user burning heroin on a spoon ©Reporters

New anti-drug campaign aims to take the fight to the people.

The EU is calling on all Europeans to join in a new anti-drug campaign that lets them decide how to contribute.

The campaign was launched on 26 June in a ceremony marking the UN day against drug abuse.

Twenty-one organisations signed up on the spot, pledging action to raise awareness of the dangers of substance abuse. They include youth, charity and addict support groups.

Participants must be prepared to carry out a concrete plan of action but they decide for themselves what measures they want to take. To make sure they honour their commitments, the volunteers are asked to sign pledges.

Greek-born French TV host Nikos Aliagas and Polish social campaigner Jerzy Owsiak officiated the event.

Every year, between 7 000 and 8 000 people die of drug overdoses in Europe. Most involve heroin, long a leading cause of death among young people in Europe, particularly males in urban areas.

Besides being highly addictive and prone to overdose, it contributes to the spread of HIV and hepatitis C, both of which can be passed on through contaminated needles.

European action on drugs – commitments

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