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International Overdose day | August 31

Updated: Sep 5, 2023

More than 106,000 lives were lost to drug-involved overdoses in the United States in 2021, involving both illicit drugs and prescription opioids. This crisis underscores the need for awareness and action, embodied by International Overdose Awareness Day, observed on August 31 annually since 2001.

The day aims to shine light on overdoses, reduce stigma, and offer comfort to bereaved families and friends. As drug overdose deaths rise, the day's significance deepens. International Overdose Awareness Day unites people worldwide, urging communities, policymakers, healthcare professionals, and citizens to combat overdoses together. The day remembers those lost and strives to prevent future overdose deaths.

By raising awareness, it destigmatizes conversations around drug-related fatalities. The event fosters dialogue, encouraging innovative strategies for prevention and treatment, while promoting community support systems. It empowers individuals battling addiction to seek help without shame. Families and friends of overdose victims advocate for harm reduction, addiction treatment, and mental health support policies. This resilience turns personal tragedies into hope for a compassionate society.

Approaching International Overdose Awareness Day, we remember lives lost, support those fighting addiction, and commit to a world of empathy and action. Each candle and voice bring us closer to translating overdose awareness into lasting change.

This content is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns about your health, please consult with a healthcare professional.


1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2023, July 10). Drug overdose death rates. National Institutes of Health.

2. Wallace, B., MacKinnon, K., Marcellus, L., & Pauly, B. (2021). International Overdose Awareness Day: A time to remember, a time to act, a time for evidence. JBI Evidence Synthesis, 19(8), 1758–1759.

3. Penington Institute. Penington Institute. (2023, August 18).

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