International Overdose Awareness Day

The international overdose awareness day is held on August 31 annually. It is a globally recognized event to raise awareness for opioid overdose and prevention.

August 31


#endoverdose #ioad #narcan #opioidcrisis #opioidepidemic #rip #inmemoryof #addiction #addictionrecovery

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International Overdose Awareness Day began in 2001 with the Salvation Army. Sally J. Finn, who was managing a harm reduction needle and syringe program, came up with this campaign to come together at a local level and honor, support, and remember loved ones lost to overdose. Since 2001, August 31 has become a global event recognized by over 40 countries to raise awareness, reduce stigma and acknowledge the lives lost due to legal and illicit drug overdoses including fentanyl.

International Overdose Awareness Day Goals:

  • Provide an opportunity for people to grieve loved individuals in a safe, stigma-free environment publicly.
  • Include a substantial number of people and encourage involvement in International Overdose Awareness Day events, regardless of race, religion, or sex.
  • Educate community members about the ongoing issue of overdoses, including fatal and non-fatal.
  • Reduce the stigma surrounding drug use and overdoses.
  • Initiate discussions regarding overdose prevention and drug policy.
  • Provide a list of available resources.
  • Educate people on evidence based-policy and practices to prevent and reduce drug-related harm.
  • Raise awareness about the risk of overdose on a global level.

Get Involved

Plan an activity or event in your community. By bringing people together, even if it’s just a few friends, you can help achieve change and spread awareness. Follow on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and engage with the online International Overdose Awareness Day community!

What can you do?

  • Ask your workplace to participate in IOAD observance activities.
  • Host a candlelight observance
  • Partner with a local organization to offer addiction education programs on opioid prevention.
  • Provide a stigma-free platform where families can share stories of loved ones that lost their lives to overdose.
  • Make a large banner and paint so survivors of families that lost their loved ones due to an opioid overdose can add their handprints in remembrance.
  • Use physical objects like cardboard cutouts, hats, shoes, or large photographs of loved ones to show how many lives were lost to opioid overdoses within the community.
  • Organize a walk in honor of a specific individual or all individuals within your community who died due to an overdose.
  • Design purple wristbands, pins, t-shirts, or other items that promote overdose awareness and wear them on August 31 to raise awareness. These items would also be great to wear during an organized walk through the community.
  • Prevent misuse, addiction, and drug overdose deaths by researching state and federal legislation that addresses opioid overdose prevention and creating a petition to send to your representative in congress.
  • Support efforts to end the opioid crisis by giving a gift to an addiction prevention organization of your choice in remembrance of a loved one.
    Reach out to people in recovery and provide support.

Share the Message

See event listings and photos and receive up-to-date information on all things related to International Overdose Awareness Day. Use the hashtag #OverdoseAware #EndOverdose or #IOAD on your photos and posts to help build momentum for the day and spread awareness.

Attend Narcan Training

Naloxone or Narcan is an opioid antagonist medication that reverses opioid overdoses such as heroin and prescription painkillers. Naloxone is available to anyone at risk of opioid overdose — or who knows someone who is. Find a naloxone training session near you. A dose of naloxone can be life-saving.


Last year, more than 107,000 lives were lost to overdose. Many prevention organizations are collecting donations in the name of your loved ones to help raise awareness and prevent overdoses.

Get Help for an Opioid Overdose and Disorder

Did you know that 90% of all opioid overdoses were accidental? However, every 12 minutes, someone dies from an opioid-related overdose. The opioid epidemic has impacted one out of every four people. Most people know someone addicted to opioids, is struggling with opioid addiction, has overdosed due to opioids, or is addicted to prescription opioids or heroin. Individuals don’t choose to develop an opioid use disorder. It is not a moral flaw. Opioids are a class of drugs that change the chemical composition of your brain and cause you to engage in compulsive behaviors to obtain drugs and continue use despite potentially fatal consequences. Addiction does not discriminate. Anyone can become addicted to opioids, including your mother, father, sister, brother, teacher, coach, neighbor, friend, or even your doctor. However, the stigma surrounding opioid use disorder prevents many individuals from seeking the help they need to overcome this disorder. Don’t allow the stigma surrounding opioid use disorder to prevent you from seeking the help you or your loved one needs to recover. Avatar Residential Detox Center is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for admissions, addiction treatment plans, emergency medical care, and behavioral therapies. We are here to help you establish the path to long-term recovery and regain control of your life. Contact us today at (973)-774-7222.

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