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On This International Overdose Awareness Day Choose Gratitude

International Overdose Awareness Day

On This International Overdose Awareness Day Choose Gratitude

Hey, hey all you caring and compassionate people! Do you know what day it is today? Why it’s International Overdose Awareness Day! A day for us to remember those we’ve lost, as well as to honor those who’ve survived, all the while helping to prevent others from crossing over the great divide.

It’s an absolutely inspired idea! And not just because the International Overdose Awareness Day folks say so either. Sparked by a notion from one Sally J. Finn at The Salvation Army in St Kilda, Melbourne way back in 2001, and carried through by Australian not-for-profit Penington Institute since 2012, the day’s become a truly international event. It’s also become an excellent way to show honor and respect for any- and everyone who’s ever fought substance use disorder.

It’s a fantastic way for friends, family and other loved ones to get involved too. After all, many of the dearly departed remain dear to someone who’s still here. The same goes for those who bought the ticket yet didn’t have to take the ride. Well, the IOAD folks have created a way to celebrate the lives of all loved ones, regardless of where they are in the cosmos. It also provides an arsenal of preventative measures, large, medium and small.

Here’s how the great good folks at Penington break it all down:

International Overdose Awareness Day

The goals of International Overdose Awareness Day are:

  • To provide an opportunity for people to publicly mourn loved ones in a safe environment, some for the first time without feeling guilt or shame.
  • To include the greatest number of people in International Overdose Awareness Day events, and encourage non-denominational involvement.
  • To provide information about the issue of fatal and non-fatal overdose.
  • To send a strong message to current and former people who use drugs that they are valued.
  • To stimulate discussion about overdose prevention and drug policy.
  • To provide basic information on the range of support services that are available.
  • To prevent and reduce drug-related harm by supporting evidence-based policy and practice.
  • To inform people around the world about the risk of overdose.

Get Involved

As you might suspect, the Penington people provide numerous way for you to get involved, many of them can be accessed right through the site. Those include:

Hold an Event

Hold your own activity or event in your community. By bringing people together, even if it’s just a few friends, you can help achieve change and spread awareness. Check out IOAD’s Event Support Kit for tips on running your own event. The Penington people will even help publicize and promote what you’re doing. Here’s where you can register your event.

Post a Tribute

Remembering those who have died or who have suffered permanent injury due to overdose is a vital part of International Overdose Awareness Day. If you’re interested in commemorating someone, you can add your tribute here.

Show your Support

Wear a badge, wristband or lanyard to show your support for International Overdose Awareness Day. Buy your IOAD merchandise right here.

Get Social

Follow the good folks on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and engage with the online International Overdose Awareness Day community! This way you can see event listings, photos and receive up to date information on all things related to International Overdose Awareness Day.

Hashtag it!

Use the hashtag #OverdoseAware or #EndOverdose on your photos and posts to help build momentum for the day and spread awareness.


Subscribe to the International Overdose Awareness Day e-newsletter to receive monthly updates from the Penington Institute team.

Donate to the IOAD campaign

International Overdose Awareness Day is unfunded. You may wish to consider supporting the initiative with a donation. Every dollar really does make a difference.

Show Your Gratitude

Whether friend or family member, colleague or co-conspirator, the people in your life mean something. They each deserve to be told so too. Heck, even a Thank You can work wonders.

In fact, gratitude can work wonders on the recipient, as well as the deliverer. If you can Thank someone in person, by all means do so. If it’s too late, say Thank You anyway. The recipient will hear you. Just close your eyes and remember all the great good things that made them special; the gratitude will literally flood your heart — and theirs.

Honoring All

Okay, so it may be a little late to set up an event or launch a campaign of your own. But that doesn’t mean it’s too late to get involved. In fact, the United States has 480 events slated for this International Overdose Awareness Day. That’s more than any other country in the world. And if by chance you can’t find an event to attend, you can Post a Tribute or two right on the IOAD site!

Now, whether your tribute concerns someone you’ve lost, someone you’ve saved or someone who saved you is entirely your call. The important thing is that you take the time to honor a loved one. Tributes can mean a lot to people, whether you know them or not. At the very least, pick up your phone and share the good word. Please.

Healing Properties thanks the Penington Institute for being the be-all behind International Overdose Awareness Day. We’re especially grateful to Sally J. Finn for coming up with the idea in the first place. We’d also like to offer much thanks to all the organizations that are hosting Overdose Awareness Day events, as well as those for whom overdose prevention is a part of their day-to-day. Yes, overdose stats remain obscenely high. But they’d be even higher without the aforementioned’s efforts. Thank You.

If you or a loved one is having substance abuse issues, please give us a ring. We’ve been helping men find sobriety since 2002; we’d be honored to help you too.

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