Every August 31st since 2001, people around the world have observed International Overdose Awareness Day. Originally organized in Melbourne, Australia, now there are hundreds of global events– candlelight vigils in remembrance of loved ones who lost their battle with addiction and educational events aimed at preventing future tragedies.
What International Overdose Awareness Day Is All About
Every participating organization observes International Overdose Awareness Day in their own way, but there are common central goals:
- To let people publicly mourn their lost loved ones.
- To inform the local community about the impact of drug overdoses.
- To spark discussion about overdose prevention within the community.
- To highlight the availability of local support and treatment services.
- To reduce the harm caused by addiction.
But the biggest goal of International Overdose Awareness Day is to send positive messages to EVERYONE struggling with any kind of substance abuse disorder:
- You are NOT alone.
- YOUR life matters.
- Drug overdoses are PREVENTABLE.
- There IS hope.
- HELP is available.
Overdose Deaths Continue to Increase
If estimates are correct, there were between 59,000 and 65,000 Americans died in 2016 because of fatal drug overdoses. Not only is this the greatest number of drug deaths ever, it also represents a nearly 20%, one-year jump.
It is projected that over 5500 of those deaths happened in California. In fact, California suffers 48% more overdose deaths than any other state.
This is why in 2014, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department began issuing the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone to its officers – the first law enforcement agency in the state to do so.
International Overdose Awareness Day in San Diego County
Several communities in the area are banding together for a gathering to be held in Oceanside.
Sponsored by the Grief Recovery after a Substance Passing (GRASP) chapters in North San Diego County, Carlsbad, and La Mesa, the “International Overdose Awareness Day Pier Walk and Memorial” will be held at 6:30 PM on the 31st. For more information, call Mike Robinson at 817-676-1304.
No one needs to die because of drug overdoses. If someone you care about is abusing illicit drugs or prescription medications, contact Lasting Recovery outpatient drug rehab in San Diego for help.