International Overdose Awareness Day is a worldwide observance held every August 31st, aiming to increase awareness of overdose crisis and reduce the stigma associated with a drug-related death.
It is also an opportunity to publicly acknowledge the grief that is felt by any family or friends who have had a loved one die or suffer a permanent injury or disability because of a drug overdose.
But the primary goal of International Overdose Awareness Day is to spread as widely as possible the message that overdose deaths are completely preventable.
First held in Melbourne, Australia in 2001, this global event now connects hundreds of observances taking place in countries around the world:
The Theme for 2019
This year’s theme is “Time to Remember, Time to Act”.
Remembering can mean candlelight vigils, pictures, badges, lanyards, or badges. It could be getting together with other family and friends to tell stories, laugh, and support each other.
Acting means actively doing something to help any other substance abusers in your life. You could do this by convincing them to seek professional treatment, taking them to 12-Step meetings, or ending your own codependent or enabling behaviors.
Other ways to act:
- Watch for the warning signs of addiction
- Learn how to recognize and respond to an overdose
- Purchasing and training with Narcan.
Why is International Overdose Awareness Day Important?
In 2018, there were 68,557 fatal overdoses in the United States. And while, on the one the one hand, that represents the first yearly decline since 1990, there is still a lot of work to do. Because the number of drug deaths involving other substances are skyrocketing, especially with methamphetamine and synthetic opioids like fentanyl and its chemical analogues.
Even with that on-year decline, the number of overdose deaths is still more than 400% higher than a generation ago.
According to the CDC, there were 5222 fatal drug overdoses in California in 2018—the leading cause of premature deaths. But here’s the positive takeaway…that is 9% fewer deaths than in 2017.
International Overdose Awareness Day in San Diego County
At 9:30 a.m. on August 31st, the “Remembering Lives Lost & Promoting Solutions to Overdose Crisis” event will begin. It will take place at Pioneer Park, located at 1425 Washington Place in San Diego.
You can REMEMBER loved ones by writing their names on the commemorative banner or by placing a wallet-sized photo on the Tree of Remembrance.
You can ACT by receiving the naloxone that will be distributed and by participating in the overdose training that will be offered.
The event is sponsored by A New PATH — Parents for Addiction Treatment and Healing — an advocacy group working to end the stigma associated with addictive disorders. For more information, contact Gretchen Bergman, at firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s time to end the tragedy of drug overdose deaths. If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse, contact Lasting Recovery outpatient drug rehab in San Diego to get the help and support you need.
Lasting Recovery—”Where Wellness Begins…”