The national capital New Delhi was the venue of a rally for the International Day against Drugs Abuse and Illicit Trafficking on Sunday.
In 1987, the UN General Assembly decided to observe June 26 as the International Day against Drugs 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.
Around 3000 participants from Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR) enthusiastically participated in the rally, carrying placards that said: "Think Health not Drugs".
"We are running for a cause that we must think and concentrate about fitness and we should refrain from taking drugs and it's a great feeling that we are running for such a social and a noble cause," said Rajesh Kumar, one of the participants in the rally.
Music bands of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, Border Security Force and Central Reserve Police Force also participated in the rally.
Sunita Godara, a former Indian marathon runner, said the motto of organising the rally was to introduce the benefits of healthy lifestyle among people, especially among youths.
"Among the 3000 participants, 1000 are runners and the rest 2000 would participate in 'Say no to drugs' rally. On the International Day against Drugs Abuse, our motto is to promote the idea of 'Think Health and not Drugs'," said Godara.
Teenagers and adults are particularly vulnerable to using illicit drugs. The prevalence of drug use among young people is more than twice as high as that among the general population.
At this age, peer pressure to experiment with illicit drugs can be strong and self-esteem is often low.
Also, those who take drugs tend to be either misinformed or insufficiently aware of the health risks involved.
Social Welfare Minister Kiran Walia called for strict action against drug sellers who lure youngsters and children into this harmful habit.
"We should refrain from consuming any kind of harmful drug. We had not fought for independence to get half of the population addicted to drugs. We do not want the young population of our country to indulge in taking drugs, which would ruin their future. We will have to stop drug abuse right now because this problem is increasing day by day. We will have to take strict actions against the drug sellers. Even the kids imitate the habit of others smoking, so the modus operandi of this rally is to guide them in proper way," said Walia.
The date marks the 1987 signing of the declaration adopted at the International Conference against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, and its avowed purposed is "to strengthen action and cooperation to achieve the goal of an international society free of drug abuse".
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) launches campaigns to raise awareness about the global drug problem on this day.