Drugs have always represented a huge concern for societies, countries, and for the international community. Social issues have arisen from the production, trafficking, and abuse of drugs. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, consumption of illegal drugs has increased in recent years, especially in developing countries. Around 5% of the world’s adult population has consumed at least one type of illegal drug once in their life, and 0.6% of this population is in activity, meaning that they have developed an addictive behavior towards the substance. 0.2% of these people die from drug use every year.
This increase in people’s consumption has both economic and social consequences, including insecurity, instability, and crime. What is more concerning is that drug users tend to be members of the young population, the most vulnerable group of all.
There are different reasons why consumption has increased. Studies of the Organization of American States indicate that risk perception of the population and the difficulty of access to drugs are important variables. When a population’s risk perception is higher and it’s more difficult to access drugs, consumption is lower. These are key factors that countries should consider important for the development of public policies that can help to reduce drug consumption.
Efforts to discourage drug usage have to be oriented in the acknowledgement of each person’s dignity, not only in recognition from the state, but also within the person. Each one of us has to be well aware of our worth in order to respond effectively to these threats and recognize that the real fight against drugs is within ourselves.
It’s important to highlight that in order to make long term policies that create real solutions to this problem, countries have to address the issue’s root causes, which lay mostly in culture. Nowadays, the youth is facing to a relativistic and hedonistic society where wrong values permeate their ways of thinking and acting. In order to change society, we must change the way our culture thinks and acts. It is in this way that organizations such as World Youth Alliance help young people to answer questions like “who am I?” in order to act freely, in solidarity, and according to their human dignity. Only with this approach will societies be able to overcome problems such as drug abuse and implement long term policies that address to the real necessities of the human person.
By: Sofía Castro Guerrero, member at World Youth Alliance Latin America