International Overdose Awareness Day

International Overdose Awareness Day is observed on August 31st every year and is used to draw attention to the problem of overdose and to reduce the stigma of drug-related deaths. It’s also a day that’s used to acknowledge the grief felt by friends and family members when people overdose.

The other goals established by this day include sending a message to current and former drug users that they’re valued, stimulating discussion about drug policy and overdose prevention, and informing people about the potential risks of drug overdoses. This day was originally begun in 2001 in Australia but has since become a global event.

The History of International Overdose Awareness Day

This day was first established by SJ Finn in 2001—who had been managing a syringe and needle program at the Salvation Army Crisis Centre in St. Kilda, Victoria, in Australia. On the first day it was held in Australia, thousands of silver ribbons were distributed across the country and in New Zealand. Every year since then, the event has grown and is now recognized in over 45 countries all over the world.

Facts About Drug Overdoses

Below are some facts about drug overdoses that we’d like to share with anyone and everyone reading about this holiday. The following facts should underline the importance of raising awareness about overdoses and how they affect our families and communities.

Drug Overdoses Are the Leading Cause of Death in the U.S.

In the United States, drug overdoses are the leading cause of injury death. Among people between the ages of 25 and 65 years old, there are more drug overdose deaths than motor vehicle deaths. About 60% of those overdose deaths are from prescription drugs.

An Overdose Usually Occurs During the First Few Hours of Using a Drug

Most overdose cases happen in the first 3 hours after someone has started using a particular drug. After this timeframe, the risk of overdose drops significantly.

Overdose Risks Increase When Certain Factors Are Present

The risk of overdose increases under certain circumstances. It increases when someone takes opiates with other depressants, or while taking stimulants. It also increases when heroin is mixed with fentanyl or with cocaine. The risk of an overdose also increases when their oxygen levels are lowered due to smoking, or a condition such as a cold or the flu. Overdose risks also increase among people who are diagnosed with viral hepatitis or HIV.

Observing International Overdose Awareness Day

You can observe this day by taking the time to educate yourself about the dangers of drug overdoses and how they affect the community. You can also spread the word about this day by using the hashtag #InternationalOverdoseAwarenessDay on your social media accounts.

When is it?
This year (2024)
August 31 Saturday
Next year (2025)
August 31 Sunday
Last year (2023)
August 31 Thursday
Awareness & Cause