International Overdose Awareness Day is August 31

Maggie Barrows
August 28, 2023

This International Overdose Awareness Day, learn about important research on overdose prevention, join a rally, or sign up for a free naloxone training.

International Overdose Awareness Day, established in 2001, is an initiative of the Penington Institute in Australia. The annual campaign works to raise awareness of and end overdoses, remember those who die from overdose without stigma, and acknowledge the grief of their loved ones. Among many other resources, their website provides an opportunity to read and share tributes to loved ones who died from overdose.

Highlighted below are just a few examples of the research, resources, and opportunities that SIG, our partners, and our community have developed.

HEALing Communities Study

The HEALing Communities Study (HCS) is a National Institutes of Health-funded effort to reduce opioid overdose deaths in New York and three other highly-impacted states (Kentucky, Massachusetts, and Ohio). HCS is created through a multi-agency, multi-disciplinary approach, and includes partnerships with include government agencies, non-profits, medical professionals, and people with lived experience.

One of those partners, the Orange County Department of Mental Health, has put together an informational brochure about about substance use disorder, highlighting the support and services that are available to residents of the county.

They also have two videos from local spokespeople about the benefits and effectiveness of Medication for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD), which are part of their work to increase uptake of and decrease stigma around MOUD.

VOCAL New York March, Vigil, and Rally

Join VOCAL New York for a march, vigil, and rally on International Overdose Awareness Day to demand New York officials to invest in lifesaving harm reduction and humanizing policies including safe supply, overdose prevention centers, decriminalization, treatment, peer support, and more.

The rally will be held at City Hall Park at 11:30 AM on August 31. RSVP to VOCAL New York online, and if you're interested in more information contact Steven or Jasmine.

A flyer with information about the International Overdose Awareness Day march, vigil, and rally

The Peer Network of New York

Learn more from the experts on the front lines of the drug war, The Peer Network of New York, peer-led, grassroots organization fighting for the health and rights of all people impacted by racist and oppressive drug policies. 

This short video using a participatory action research method called photovoice provides more information and insight into their important work.

Pregnant People and the Overdose Epidemic

Associate Professor Brooke West's new publication, "In our responses to the overdose epidemic, we cannot forget pregnant and postpartum people," emphasizes the importance of including birthing people in discussions of overdose and drug use, and placing their risks in the context of maternal mortality and morbidity. Dr. West also highlights the intersecting factors of sexism, racism, stigma, and punitive policies that affect many birthing parents, and elaborates on short- and long-term responses to these issues.

Read the publication from the International Journal of Drug Policy online, or download a PDF.

Naloxone Trainings and Free Naloxone

Columbia Health (for Columbia affiliates only) and New York City both provide free virtual trainings on using naloxone, which can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. The New York City trainings also provide information on how to access the city's Overdose Response Kits in person and by mail. 

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