International Overdose Awareness Day

International Overdose Awareness Day

August 31, 2022

International Overdose Awareness DaySince 2001, August 31st has been International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD), originally founded by Sally J Finn from the Salvation Army in St Kilda, Melbourne. The awareness day is used to raise awareness, fight to end overdose and the stigma surrounding opioid addiction. The awareness day is also used to remember those we have lost and those who have lost a family member or friend to overdose.

Outside of bringing overall awareness about the overdose dilemma, there are other goals that are associated with the day. Here is the list of goals provided on the International Overdose Awareness Day website:

  • To provide an opportunity for people to publicly mourn loved ones in a safe environment, some for the first time without feeling guilt or shame.
  • To include the greatest number of people in International Overdose Awareness Day events, and encourage non-denominational involvement.
  • To give community members information about the issue of fatal and non-fatal overdose.
  • To send a strong message to current and former people who use drugs that they are valued.
  • To stimulate discussion about overdose prevention and drug policy.
  • To provide basic information on the range of support services that are available.
  • To prevent and reduce drug-related harm by supporting evidence-based policy and practice.
  • To inform people around the world about the risk of overdose.


What can you do to get involved?

International Overdose Awareness dayOverdose is heavily stigmatized and often times people feel uncomfortable discussing it. Changing the way we discuss substance use disorder is the first step to ending overdose. For example, saying “John relapsed last week” has a negative connotation. Instead, try saying “John had a setback”. The connotation is more positive and implies that he is still on the path to recovery. To learn more about stigma and how to change the language, visit Overdose Lifeline.

Besides changing how we talk about overdose, there are other ways that you can get involved. Check with your local towns or organizations to see if there are events happening on or around the 31st. Social media is also a powerful tool to help spread the message. You can post a tribute to someone you know who passed away from substance use and call for action to stop the crisis. Even if you don’t have a personal story, donating to a local or regional organization that works to help those struggling with substance use disorder is a great way to start getting involved.

To find resources and events, check out the get involved page


StayWell is here for you

International Overdose Awareness DAyWhether you or someone you know is struggling with Substance Use Disorder, StayWell is here to help. StayWell’s Behavioral Health Department offers an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) and the OASIS program for those who are struggling with addiction and need more than a weekly session can provide.

The program consists of structured group meetings 3-4 times per week and is available for both English and Spanish speaking patients. Individuals will be empowered to improve their quality of life, reduce substance use, build coping strategies, and manage their behavioral symptoms through intensive groups, medication management, and routine evaluations.

You can also check out our YouTube video where we discuss International Overdose Awareness Day with the Director of Behavioral Health here at StayWell. 

To make an appointment, simply call 203-756-8021 Ext. 3529 to speak with a behavioral health professional today.


Other Helpful Resources

The StayWell Health Center Team