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International Overdose Awareness Day
SatAug 31

International Overdose Awareness Day – August 31, 2024

International Overdose Awareness Day on August 31 is a stark reminder of the harm that drugs inflict on our society. It is a day to remember those who have fallen victims to overdose as well as those who have come out of the dark hole victorious with the help of loved ones and ask whether the War on Drugs has been effective. International Overdose Awareness Day also aims to reduce the stigma attached to the issue, most of which is faced by the families of the victims. Many who are not aware of the factors behind overdose unfairly blame victims. Such an attitude only works to flair the negativities surrounding the topic, suppressing any efforts to raise awareness. August 31 is the day to come out and stand in solidarity in order to reduce future overdose deaths.

History of International Overdose Awareness Day

The first International Overdose Awareness Day was commemorated 20 years ago. It was started by Sally J. Finn who was in St. Kilda, Melbourne at The Salvation Army. In the beginning, she gave this suggestion to her friend Peter Streker, who worked at the Community and Health Development Program in Australia. Both Finn and Streker wanted to highlight the consequences people face when someone close to them overdoses, resulting in either a critical state or death. Another objective was to attempt to reduce the apathy and stigma the general public had towards the overdose victims. Since its inception in 2001, the day has been noted by governments and official organizations. Special events and kits are prepared every year to welcome the day and achieve the goals related to it.

Overdose is described as taking too much of a substance, and in this case, the overdose is related to drugs. Overdosing on drugs can be deliberate or otherwise. People deliberately overdosing on drugs may do it due to suicidal tendencies, mental illnesses, or looking to achieve higher levels of intoxication. On the other hand, people, who overdose on drugs by mistake, may do so because of incorrect measurements. Whatever the case may be, the resulting consequences are faced by the people who are close to the victims. These effects are felt on socio-economic levels. The prejudice and stigma surrounding the topic make it hard for families and friends to overcome their grief. This also, inevitably, results in less awareness. What we as a society can do is talk about the overdose more openly, support people in their struggles, and continue to fight. Even if one person is saved at the end of the day, it is a victory to be celebrated.

International Overdose Awareness Day timeline

One Million Drug Overdose Victims

Spanning five decades, over a million fall victim to drug overdose in America.

First International Overdose Awareness Day

Sally Finn and Peter Streker initiate the first International Overdose Awareness Day in the world.

Drug Overdose Death Rate Increasing

Studies have shown that starting in 2005, drug overdose deaths have increased due to ingestion of accidental high doses of prescribed drugs.

Opioid Epidemic Plaguing America

Amongst the 70,000 deaths related to drug overdose, the highest number of deaths is caused by fentanyl, a type of opioid.

International Overdose Awareness Day FAQs

What day is the International Overdose Awareness Day?

August 31 is International Overdose Awareness Day. 

What is the color of the ribbon for Overdose Awareness?

The ribbon color for Overdose Awareness is purple. Grey is also often used to show support for the cause. 

When is the Anti-Drug Day?

The U.N. General Assembly designated June 26 as the official Anti-Drug Day. 

How To Observe International Overdose Awareness Day

  1. Wear purple and grey

    The official colors for this day are purple and grey. You can get badges or lanyards from your local organizations. You can also choose to wear purple/grey-themed clothes for the day to show your support for the community.

  2. Host an event

    Gather your family and friends and others to talk about the aims behind the day. You can host a small talk session or you can select documentaries to watch. The goal is to reach as many people as possible.

  3. Promote the day

    In today’s day and age, it is a piece of cake to spread information. Seek the help of a professional to research. Once you have compiled everything, you can proceed to distribute information about the topic to your network using social media.

5 Facts About Drugs That Will Blow Your Mind

  1. Majority of prescription drugs in America

    While the U.S. only makes up 5% of the world’s population, about 75% of all prescription drugs in the world are consumed by Americans.

  2. Teen deaths due to prescription drugs

    Teens are more likely to die due to prescription drug ingestion than by cocaine or heroin.

  3. Marijuana is viewed as harmless by seniors

    A majority of seniors believe that marijuana is harmless, even though the active ingredient causing addiction has become stronger than it was 20 years ago.

  4. Bath salts can cause a “high”

    Some bath salts can make you feel intoxicated or “high.”

  5. Worse oral health

    People will likely have bad oral health if they use drugs regularly as drug consumption can impact their gums, teeth, inner cheeks, tongue, and salivary glands.

Why We Love International Overdose Awareness Day

  1. It’s a reminder of overdose victims

    The International Overdose Awareness Day remembers all the overdose victims. These are people from our everyday lives like your friend, family member, or that random kid you passed by on the bus stand. Humanizing the victims instead of making monsters out of them is important as it is only through this process that we will start empathizing with them, becoming better humans as a result.

  2. It’s a reminder of loved ones

    It should go without saying that whatever a person does, it will impact their family and friends. Not only will they be feeling the repercussions in the shape of societal stigma, but they will also have to be dealing with the loss of a dear one. In these moments, it is important to show solidarity and support to the loved ones in any way possible.

  3. It’s a reminder of precious life

    Life is filled with moments of happiness, sadness, and all things in between. Each is an experience worth living through because it is through them that we will be able to understand the bigger picture a little better every day. Moreover, helping bring people back to life will be another rewarding experience.

International Overdose Awareness Day dates

2024August 31Saturday
2025August 31Sunday
2026August 31Monday
2027August 31Tuesday
2028August 31Thursday

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