ISSUP Uganda Chapter Commemoration of World Drug Day 2023 and the UYDEL 30th Anniversary

Shared by James (ISSUP staff) - 19 July 2023
Originally posted by James (ISSUP staff) - 19 July 2023

The International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, also known as World Drug Day, is celebrated annually on 26 June. The theme for World Drug Day 2023 was “People first: stop stigma and discrimination, strengthen prevention”.

This year, the ISSUP Uganda Chapter and Uganda Youth Development Link (UYDEL) partnered with the UNODC Uganda Country office and other stakeholders in rehabilitation and treatment of abuse patients to commemorate the day. The day did not only highlight the global recognition of drug abuse and illicit trafficking but also served as a celebration for UYDEL’s 30-year anniversary.


Since 1993, the Uganda Youth Development Link (UYDEL) has contributed to enhancing the socio–economic transformation of disadvantaged street and slum young people through building their social assets to enable them to become more self-reliant.

The 2023 UN campaign against drug abuse sought to raise awareness about the importance of treating people who use drugs with respect and empathy; providing evidence-based, voluntary services for all; offering alternatives to punishment; prioritizing prevention; and leading with compassion.

In line with this global objective, what are we advocating for at the local level?

  • Empower young people and communities to prevent drug use and addiction.
  • Raise awareness about the negative impact of stigma and discrimination on people who use drugs and their families.
  • Educate about drug use disorders, available treatments and the importance of early intervention and support.
  • Combat stigma and discrimination by promoting language and attitudes that are respectful and non-judgmental.
  • Advocate for alternatives to imprisonment for drug-related crimes, such as community-based treatment and services.
  • Partner with government volunteer and support rehabilitation programs to increase access to information for affected individuals and communities.

What did we do to commemorate the 2023 International Day Against Drug Abuse and the 30-year Anniversary of UYDEL?

  • UYDEL conducted a sports event at the Masooli sports grounds with 1,000- 1500 slum youth from different UYDEL safe spaces and other communities participating. The activities provided a platform to conduct ‘Prevention of Violent Extremism through Sport (PVE)’ sessions with the participating children and youth.
  • UYDEL/ISSUP Uganda hosted a webinar on drug education to generate a critical conversation on substance abuse amongst stakeholders, university students. Mr. Kasirye, the Executive Director of UYDEL, elaborated on the need for drug education and Ms. Anna Nabulya shared more insights into the role of the family in substance use prevention.
  • There was also a series of radio and television talk shows in commemoration of the day. Representatives from UNODC, ISSUP Uganda Chapter, UYDEL, Ministry of Education and Sports, Butabika hospital, National Drug Authority and Uganda Police served as panelists on the various media platforms.
  • Lastly, as a follow-up to a press release, we hosted a press conference on this year’s theme whilst sharing other facts on drug abuse both globally and locally. The conference saw participation from journalists, government officials, NGO representatives and many other policy actors.


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