Established in 2001, International Overdose Awareness Day is a global campaign which looks to raise awareness surrounding overdose risk, commemorate those lost to overdose without stigma, and recognize the grief of those who have lost someone to overdose1. International Overdose Awareness Day is recognized on August 31st each year and is currently coordinated by the Pennington Institute.(opens in a new tab)

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC)(opens in a new tab) estimates that overdose claimed 104,671 lives in the United States between April 1st, 2021 and March 31st, 20222. With the number of overdose deaths continuing to rise, the importance of education, prevention, and representation is more important now than ever.  

In an effort to reduce stigma, promote recovery, and improve access to care individuals from across the world are invited to participate in International Overdose Awareness Day. 

Understanding Overdose

An overdose occurs when you take more of a substance (or combination of substances) than your body is able to handle3. An overdose may result in many severe and harmful symptoms, including death3.  While overdose is commonly associated with opioids, such as fentanyl, heroin, and prescription painkillers, it can occur with the use of other substances as well.

A variety of symptoms can occur during an overdose and observable signs depend on multiple factors including the substance used and the amount of the substance that was used1.  An overdose is a life-threatening medical emergency that requires immediate medical attention.  If you suspect someone is experiencing an overdose, call 911 right away. Common signs that someone is in need of immediate medical attention include, but are not limited to4:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Shallow or irregular breathing
  • Slowed or stopped heartbeat
  • Seizures
  • Vomiting
  • Snoring or gurgling sounds
  • Confusion 

For more information on overdose response and prevention, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs’ website(opens in a new tab)4.

Keep in mind that Good Samaritan Laws exist in most states to offer protection to those who report an overdose, even if criminal activity may have been involved.

How to Observe International Overdose Awareness Day 2022

Anyone can participate in International Overdose Awareness Day.  This year on August 31st there are several ways you can observe International Overdose Awareness Day, including:

  • Plan or attend an even in your area. You can find more information here(opens in a new tab).
  • Post a tribute(opens in a new tab) in remembrance of someone lost or injured due to overdose.
  • Donate to an organization that provides overdose prevention services or treatment services.
  • Wear purple to spread awareness.
  • Carry Naloxone.
  • Encourage anyone you know struggling with a substance use disorder to get help.
How Greenbriar Treatment Center Can Help

At Greenbriar Treatment Center we understand how substance use disorders can deeply impact individuals, families, and communities.  We have developed a full continuum of care to help combat the devastating effects of SUD.  Our services include:

  • Medically Monitored Detox
  • Residential Treatment
  • Long-Term Residential Treatment
  • Partial Hospitalization
  • Intensive Outpatient
  • Continuing Care
  • Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT)

If you or someone you love is struggling with a substance use disorder, don’t wait to get help.  Contact us today to get started on the bath to recovery.

*DISCLAIMER: THIS ARTICLE DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. The information contained here is for informational purposes only.  No material provided is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.