August 31st is International Overdose Awareness Day
Drug overdose deaths have spiked drastically in the past five years, with 2017 being one of the worst years for drug overdose deaths with over 72,000 lives lost. Over 40,000 of those deaths can be attributed to opioids, such as heroin and fentanyl.
About 197 Americans die every day from drug overdose, 197 human beings, with families, friends, hopes and dreams.
Overdose Awareness Day is on August 31st and aims to reduce the stigma of addiction while raising awareness of overdose and drug-related death. Overdose Awareness Day is also a day to acknowledge the grief felt by families and friends who have lost someone to overdose. Overdose Awareness Day spreads the message that overdose deaths are preventable.
Whether you are in recovery or not, you have probably been affected by drug overdose in some way or another. Dealing with the sudden death of someone you care about can be very difficult, especially when its due to a drug overdose. People are often left with many questions, feelings of “I could have done more,” and frustration. Using Overdose Awareness Day to talk about these feelings and raise awareness about the drug epidemic can be therapeutic for someone going through the grieving process.
Throughout the country, there are many things you can do to observe or participate in Overdose Awareness Day as a way to remember lost loved ones or stand up against stigma. As a way to show support and pay remembrance on Overdose Awareness Day you can hang a black balloon outside your home, show support on social media, share you or your family members story about addiction or recovery, or even attend a local candlelight vigil. Paying remembrance can be therapeutic and open the conversation about prevention, education, and addiction treatment options.
Overdose deaths are devastating, mostly because they are preventable. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, the safest place to be is in treatment working towards long term recovery. You do not have to be another statistic. You deserve to live a life free from alcohol and drugs.