UNODC raises public awareness about illicit drugs in Central Asia
12 July 2022
The theme of World Drug Day 2022 is ‘health and humanitarian crises’. To commemorate the Day, the UNODC Cross-Border Cooperation Project in Central Asia conducted the campaign to raise public awareness of illicit drug problems.
Central Asia borders Afghanistan - the world’s largest opium poppy producer. The region is on the front line of efforts to counter drug trafficking along the northern route.
Thematic public awareness-raising campaigns play an important role in the fight against illicit drugs. It is crucial to inform, in particular, young people, who make up more than half of the population in Central Asian countries about the risks posed by drug use and illicit drug trafficking.
The awareness-raising campaign was conducted at the Korday border crossing point (BCP) on the Kazakh-Kyrgyz border, the Sypatay Batyr BCP on the Kazakh-Kyrgyz border, the Ak-Zhol BCP on the Kyrgyz-Kazakh border, the Zhibek Zholy BCP on the Kazakh-Uzbek border, the Dusti BCP on the Tajik-Uzbek border, the Sariosiyo BCP on the Uzbek-Tajik border, the Gisht Kuprik BCP on the Uzbek-Kazakh border and the Aktau International Airport in Kazakhstan, the International Airport Manas in Kyrgyzstan and the Tashkent International Airport in Uzbekistan.
During the campaign, the UNODC team and law enforcement officers working at the BCPs and international airports placed information banners and disseminated fridge magnets among people crossing the borders. The messages on the banners and magnets were presented in English, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Russian, Tajik, and Uzbek languages.
A campaign video dedicated to the Day was shown at the arrival and departure terminals of international flights of the Aktau International Airport and the border terminal of the Sypatay Batyr BCP.
The UNODC representatives and law enforcement officers informed the citizens crossing the land and air borders about World Drug Day, the harmful health consequences of drug use and the legal consequences of illicit drug use and trafficking, among others.
The banners provided the following useful information: “Even a single use of a drug can cause severe harm to the human body. You can become addicted to any type of drug the first time you try it”; “Illegal drugs are often transported under the guise of ordinary food, medications, or other legal goods”; “Anyone can be found to be a drug trafficker by agreeing to transport a stranger’s luggage across the border if it is found to contain drugs.”
The key message on the magnet was a reminder of the harms of drug abuse.
The campaign was conducted under the Cross-Border Cooperation Project of Sub-programme 1 “Countering transnational organized crime, illicit drug trafficking and preventing terrorism” of the UNODC Programme for Central Asia 2022-2025. The project aims to enhance the capacity of border crossing points and improve regional cross-border cooperation by promoting Border Liaison Offices’ concept and developing information and communication networks for border agencies.
The project is funded by the Government of Japan.