August 31 is International Overdose Awareness Day

We are encouraging everyone to add their voice to a day calling attention to reducing the global scale of drug fatalities.

The best estimates, from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) indicate that nearly 200,000 people die each year from drug overdoses.  

The international community needs to talk more about overdose and how to drive down the number of deaths. International Overdose Awareness Day, an initiative of Penington Institute, is a day for raising a united voice for preventing overdose, for saving lives.

We want as many groups as possible to stage events and let their communities know the campaign is an international day of action. Last year events were held around the world, including in Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Canada, China, India, the Slovak Republic, the United Kingdom and the United States.

We want this to be just the beginning.Grassroots community level action is at the heart of the day because it shows that people lost to drug overdose are individuals and family members, not just statistics. Often the strongest supporters of the day are the families of overdose victims who do not want other families to suffer as they have.

Therefore many groups are marking the day by staging a memorial event in conjunction with an overdose response training session. Momentum is building for making overdose prevention programs available to all who need them, and marking the day by informing as many people as possible can save lives.

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