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International Overdose Awareness Day: Better Understanding and Removing the Stigma of Overdoses

Did you know that August 31st is International Overdose Awareness Day? Globally, it’s estimated that there are up to 230,000 premature deaths per year caused by drugs with opioids accounting for the majority of drug-related deaths, according to

Started in 2001 by Sally J. Finn at The Salvation Army in Australia, International Overdose Awareness Day’s purpose is to raise public awareness of the risk of drug overdoses and to reduce the stigma around drug-related addiction and deaths. Today, International Overdose Awareness Day is coordinated by the Penington Institute, a not-for-profit Australian public health organization.

This year, 352 events are being held around the United States honoring Overdose Awareness Day. Check out the infographic below to see the impact of overdoses and how you can fight back against the stigma.

Importantly, we want to share that we believe overdoses are preventable. If you or someone you know needs help, call the SAMHSA’s National Helpline – 1-800-662-HELP – for free, confidential treatment referral and information services.


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