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Campaign airs health risks of illicit drug use.

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Media contact: Penny Watts (02) 60213264 0428 213 264

The Hon SUSSAN LEY MP Federal Member for Farrer Shadow Minister for Justice and Customs

26 May 2009

MEDIA RELEASE For immediate release

Campaign airs health risks of illicit drug use

Shadow Minister for Justice and Customs Sussan Ley is encouraging everyone to get behind United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking today.

Established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1987, this day serves as a reminder of the goals agreed to by Member States of creating an international society free of drug abuse.

“This is a unique occasion to take a stand against a problem that affects us all and send out a strong message against illicit drug use,” Ms Ley said.

This year’s theme is "Do drugs control your life? Your life. Your community. No place for drugs”.

Around 200 million people take drugs at least once a year. Of these, 25 million are regarded as drug dependent and every year 200,000 people die from drug-related illnesses.

Ms Ley said young people need guidance from role models and need to get the right facts about drug use.

“Prevalence of drug use among young people is more than twice as high as drug use among the general population; three times as high in the case of cannabis,” she said.

“Much more needs to be done to provide young people with the skills, information and opportunities to lead healthy and fulfilling lives.

“This international campaign provides young people and others with tools to inform themselves about the health risks associated with illicit drug use,” she said.

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