This year’s International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD) has seen our movement continue to grow and achieve real change. The final total of 874 events held in 39 countries is a new record, surpassing the previous high of 747 set last year.

And, just as in previous years, International Overdose Awareness Day is a chance to raise awareness of overdose, remember those we have lost, and call for change.

In addition to the final tally of events, there are several headline statistics which show how much our movement has grown.

As of today, the International Overdose Awareness Day Facebook page has more than 40,000 followers, while our Twitter page has more than 4,000.

This year’s campaign brought more than 273,000 visitors to the IOAD website, www.overdoseday.com Visitors to the website downloaded our online resources – posters, fact sheets, and event support kits – more than 20,000 times.

And our supporters bought and distributed close to 60,000 individual pieces of merchandise (in the form of wristbands, badges, and lanyards) – 30 per cent more than in 2018.

The other findings of the 2019 Partners’ Report are based primarily on a survey conducted by Penington Institute, the convenor of IOAD, which asked participants about their events and their experiences. Key findings gathered from responses to the survey include:

  • Knowledge about the IOAD community: our movement is made up of people who use drugs, loved ones of people who have been affected by drugs, harm reduction and health workers, advocates, and activists. Often, these communities overlap.
  • Motivations: raising awareness of overdose, reducing stigma, and commemoration or memorial of those we’ve lost were the most popular responses.
  • Events: almost 95 per cent of respondents had held an IOAD event before. Close to two-thirds of respondents said their event was attended by the general public, while 80 per cent said their event was attended by family and friends of people affected by overdose, and health or community workers.
  • Satisfaction: 95 per cent of respondents believed their event was successful or very successful, while 96 per cent were satisfied or very satisfied with the resources on offer.
  • Media coverage: 75 per cent of respondents said their event received media coverage, and the campaign overall generated 2,550 news stories.
  • Outputs and Outcomes: increased awareness, naloxone training, the creation of shareable resources, Mayoral Proclamations, and politicians promising to do more to end overdose.

The Partners’ Report concludes by reflecting on this year’s campaign and setting some ambitious targets for next year, which will be the 20th International Overdose Awareness Day.

These targets include 1,000 registered events held in 50 countries, a greater number of real-world policy outcomes, and continued growth in key target areas such as the United Kingdom, South-East Asia, South America and Africa.