International Overdose Awareness Day – August 31, 2023

August 31, 2023
International Overdose Awareness safety consulting visual

International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD) is the world’s largest annual campaign to end overdose, remember without stigma those who have died from overdose, and acknowledge the grief of the family and friends left behind.

The IOAD 2023 theme, “Recognizing those people who go unseen,” is about acknowledging people in our communities who are affected by overdose but might go unseen in the crisis.

Overdose touches people and communities in many ways. With the theme for 2023, the goal is to honor the people whose lives have been altered by overdose. They are the family and friends grieving the loss of a loved one; workers in healthcare and support services extending strength and compassion; or first responders who selflessly assume the role of lifesaver.

This year on August 31, let’s acknowledge and support the people in our communities who go unrecognized by raising awareness of the hidden impacts of overdose, promoting education of overdose response, and reaching out to politicians to make lasting, lifesaving policy changes.

International Overdose Awareness Day was initiated in 2001 by Sally J Finn at The Salvation Army in St Kilda, Melbourne, Australia.

Since 2001, many community members, as well as government and non-government organizations, have held events to raise awareness and commemorate those who have been lost to drug overdose. Since 2012, International Overdose Awareness Day has been convened by the not-for-profit Australian public health organization Penington Institute.

Penington Institute connects lived experience and research to improve community safety in relation to drugs, including alcohol and pharmaceuticals. They focus on promoting effective strategies, providing frontline workforce education, and conducting public awareness activities. Their work has had a positive impact on people, health and law enforcement systems, the economy, and society.

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Credit: Penington Institute

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