Each year, August 31st has been designated at International Overdose Awareness Day. International Overdose Awareness Day began in Australia in 2001 and is the world’s annual campaign to end drug overdose, remember without stigma those who have been lost to drug overdoses worldwide, and acknowledge the grief felt by family and friends who have lost a loved one to drug addiction and overdose. On August 31st, throughout American and around the world, communities will come together to honor and mourn the lives lost to drug overdoses and hold events to help raise awareness and break stigma of addiction and overdose deaths.
Since 1999, America has lost almost one million people to drug overdoses. While in the years before the COVID-19 public health pandemic, America’s overdose numbers were slowly moving in the right direction, since COVID-19, the numbers have been skyrocketing. In 2020, 91,799 drug overdose deaths occurring in the United States, and in 2021 the CDC estimated that over 100,000 (specifically 100,306) overdose deaths occurred. The numbers in 2022 most likely will continue to rise.
International Overdose Awareness Day offers and opportunity to educate communities not only about addiction and drug overdoses but inform individuals about prevention and recovery. Addiction is not a moral failing but rather a medical issue and a public health crisis. International Overdose Awareness Day is a platform for people to learn about harm reduction methods and initiatives, means of staying safe while using drugs, and treatment and recovery resources.
Throughout the state of the Pennsylvania and around our local area near Innovo Detox, many state, nonprofit, and community organizations will hold events on International Overdose Awareness Day. Some of these events will offer education and awareness, while others will be an opportunity to mourn those lost to addiction and drug overdose, while others will be a celebration of life for those loved ones lost. At many events, Narcan will be distributed. Narcan is a medication used to reverse an opioid overdose in an emergency. Below is a list of areas and events taking place locally in Central Pennsylvania for International Overdose Awareness Day on August 31st, 2022.