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.
What is International Overdose Awareness Day All About?
Although every organization that observes International Overdose Awareness Day has their own program, there are common central themes:
- To give people a chance to publicly mourn their loved ones lost to overdose. For some, it is their first chance to do so.
- To educate local communities about the impact drug addiction and overdoses has on EVERYONE.
- To trigger open and honest discussion about how to prevent drug overdoses within the community.
- To highlight any local drug treatment programs or resources available in the area.
- To reduce the overall harm – human, societal, and financial costs – caused by addiction.
But more than anything else, the primary goal of International Overdose Awareness Day is to send supportive positive messages to ANYONE who is struggling with any kind of addictive disorder. On Overdose Day, we tell every suffering addict and every family member everywhere:
- You are NOT alone.
- Your life DOES matter.
- You CAN have hope.
- You DO have options.
- Overdoses CAN be prevented.
- HELP is available.
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.
International Overdose Awareness Day in Idaho and Washington State
There are several observances being held in the region: Idaho Falls Cody Jack Hill Event 1:00 pm until 8:00 pm Contact: Tracy Shaul Phone #: 208-206-4077 Yakima, WA A Time to Remember a Time to Act 3:00 pm until 6:00pm Franklin Park 410 S 19th Ave Contact: Kim Hitchcock Phone #: 509-929-5177 Email: email@example.com Inchelium, WA Inchelium Stop Overdose Town Hall Meeting 5:30 pm until 7:30 pm Inchelium Community Center The Confederated Tribes of The Colville Reservation Contact: Robin Bowman Phone #: 509-722-7067 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tulalip, WA Tulalip Overdose Awareness Event 6:00 pm until 8:00 pm Tulalip Community Health Department 7615 Totem Beach Rd Contact: Community Health Department Phone #: 360-716-5662 Email: PublicHealth@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov Vancouver, WA International Overdose Awareness Day in memory of Ryan Furness and Devin Krugman 6:00 pm until 8:00 pm Marshall Park 1069 E McLoughlin Blvd Contact: Lyn Anderson Phone #: 360-702-8867 Email: email@example.com Everett, Washington A Night to Remember. A Time to Act. 7:00 pm until 8:30 pm Thornton A. Sullivan Park, Silver Lake