Observed annually on August 31 since 2001, International Overdose Awareness Day is a day of remembrance for those who have lost their lives to the disease of addiction.
First organized in Melbourne, Australia, Overdose Day now spreads the message globally– there are literally hundreds of observances around the world — candlelight vigils celebrating the lives of lost loved ones, as well as educational events hoping to prevent needless future tragedies.
Overdose Deaths in the United States Continue to Increase
If preliminary estimates are correct, between 59,000 and 65,000 people in America died in 2016 due to fatal drug overdoses. This the largest number of drug deaths ever recorded in a single year. It is also a shocking 19% year-over-year increase, compared to 2015.
Not surprisingly, opioids are the driving force behind this overdose holocaust.
According to the latest numbers:
- 63% of overdose deaths are because of prescription and illicit opioids .
- Fatal overdoses involving synthetic opioids spiked 72% in 2015.
- To give that spike perspective, last year:
- So-called “natural” opioid deaths (morphine, Vicodin, OxyContin, codeine, etc.) went down nearly 3%
- Overdose deaths involving methadone also decreased – by over 9%.
- Heroin deaths climbed to almost 13,000 in 2015.
- In 2010, the number of deaths was “only” 3036.
- That is a 428% increase in just 5 years.