The SCO For a World Without Drugs International Counternarcotics Campaign
The SCO For a World Without Drugs International Counternarcotics Campaign starts in Astana’s Kazakhstan Ice Palace filled with 5,000 people

On 19 April 2017, Kazakhstan Ice Palace in Astana hosted the opening ceremony of the SCO For a World Without Drugs International Counternarcotics Campaign.

The campaign will be extended to SCO member states concerned with implementing the Organisation's intention to curtail illegal drug trafficking, drug addiction and the consequences of drug trafficking on people's health and state security, and to facilitate preventive measures pursued by the state authorities, civil society, and the media.

Deputy Interior Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan Rashid Zhakupov addressed the opening ceremony. "Death and misfortune come to each house with drugs; it is only by joint efforts that we can counteract this evil," he said, adding that it was his hope that the International Counternarcotics Campaign would facilitate the unification of efforts in the fight against the threat of drugs.

SCO Secretary-General Rashid Alimov said that "drug traffickers threw out a global challenge to the entire world community and became a national calamity in certain countries." He urged to "organise cooperation between schools, universities, and places of employment, on the one hand, and law enforcement agencies, on the other. Everyone should realise that all of us are responsible for an uncompromising fight against the drug aggression and the drug threat. No one should keep their eyes closed when it comes to this struggle," he said.

The SCO Secretary-General pointed out in particular that the "United Nations is the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation's key partner in the fight against the drug threat. In this fight, we are walking hand-in-hand and shoulder-to-shoulder with the UN, whose role is extremely high and important. On 13 March, Vienna hosted the first joint event, The United Nations and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in the Fight against Drugs: Common Threats and Joint Actions, sponsored by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and the SCO.

The Kazakhstan Ice Palace was filled by 5,000 like-minded people, who said their resolute "no" to drugs, including outstanding athletes, film stars and popular performers. They called on young people in SCO countries to lead a healthy way of life and jointly build prosperous societies.

Combating drug trafficking is the Shanghai Cooperation Organization's priority. The SCO has drafted rules and regulations for anti-drug cooperation and created a three-level mechanism for this purpose. SCO member states jointly fight drug trafficking and cooperate with other world and regional organisations. Between 2011 and the first half of 2016, SCO law enforcers confiscated 69 tonnes of heroin, over 17 tonnes of opium, nearly 350 tonnes of marijuana, and 28 tonnes of hashish. The period's heroin seizures alone amounted to about 14 percent of the world's drugs seized.