Today marks the 12th annual International Overdose Awareness Day. The idea behind this day is to commemorate the lives of those lost to drug overdoses. This event originated in Melbourne, Australia in 2001. A woman named Sally Finn, the manager of a Salvation Army needle and syringe program, founded International Overdose Awareness Day in response to the lives she’d seen destroyed by overdoses. This is an event of remembrance.
International Overdose Awareness Day presents an opportunity to honor those whose lives were lost to their addiction, to acknowledge and honor your grief as a result of that loss, and an opportunity to bring awareness to the detrimental effects of an overdose.
This year’s theme is Prevention and Awareness. The goal is to lesson the shame, stigma, and guilt associated with addiction and so you can begin to meet it with compassion and understanding. We need to become transparent in our discussions about addiction and the potentially fatal outcome of using illicit drugs and alcohol; we’ve seem far too many young lives lost to addiction. International Overdose Awareness Day is a call to lift the lid on the darkness of drug use and shed a light of hope for the families and individuals suffering at the hands of this disease.
The statistics regarding overdoses are quite grim. See here for an extensive list.
Here are some ideas to help in your efforts to raise awareness.
- Tweet using the hashtag #OD12 and help build momentum today.
- Hold a memorial service.
- Light a candle.
- Plant a tree.
- Raise awareness.
- Celebrate and commemorate.