Overdose Awareness Day Aims to Increase Awareness, Reduce Stigma

Each year, August 31 is set aside as Overdose Awareness day throughout the world. It is hardly the United States alone who is battling addiction and the threat of deaths from overdose, although the number of such deaths each day in the US – 129 – is staggering.

Overdose death statistics for other areas and nation around the world:

  • Europe averages 16 overdose deaths per one million people, with an average of over 11,500 people dying from overdose deaths annually. (About 33 deaths/day)
  • In China, where no definite statistics exist, it is estimated that about 49,000 people there die each year from a drug overdose.
  • In Australia, the rate of overdose deaths is 88.1 per one million people. (About 6 deaths/day)



For families and friends of those dealing with addictions that carry the potential of death from overdose, and for the addicts themselves, a single day each year when the focus is on the realities of addiction and overdose is hardly enough, but it is something.

As is the hope with any issue’s awareness day, the concentrated efforts of one day will result in more people becoming informed, conversations spurred and positive actions will be taken. International Overdose Awareness Day is also a day when many people who have lost loved ones to death from overdose memorialize those gone too soon – and those who care for an addict who is still using hope and pray that that addict will choose sobriety and recovery before an overdose will strike.

Globally, nations and communities focus on what is being done in the areas of addiction and recovery, making information known and available to all who are interested. In the United States, the Department of Health & Human Services announced on August 31, 2016, that it will be providing $53 million in additional funds to 44 states in the effort to combat opioid addiction.

Below are some events in other nations recognizing Overdose Awareness Day:


In the spirit of the day, below are two videos that may be helpful to those who care about someone with an opioid addiction or is an addict him or herself. The first shares how to recognize an opioid overdose; the second is about the opioid “antidote,” Narcan.

Featured Image Source: twitter.com/LarryHogan/status/770985000636407808

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