Join the Global Movement for Overdose Awareness

August 21, 2020. Article by: Government of B.C.

August 31 is International Overdose Awareness Day – a global event to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death. It acknowledges the grief felt by families and friends remembering those who have died or have suffered an injury as a result of a drug overdose.

International Overdose Awareness Day spreads the message that overdose is preventable.

It is now more important than ever to act - an extremely toxic drug supply is circulating in B.C. and the BC Coroners Service reported a record-high number of illicit drug deaths for the third month in a row.

The overdose crisis is tragically ongoing. It affects families, friends, and co-workers every day. This day of awareness gives us a chance to reflect and remember, and to get involved.

How you can get involved

Attend a virtual or social distanced in-person event

Check out International Overdose Awareness Day activities online or in Canada. Or plan your own virtual event, such as an awareness talk, film screening or naloxone training session – and don’t forget to register your activity on so other people can find it and join in.

Take time to remember

Post a tribute to honour the memory of someone who has lost their life or suffered a permanent injury due to overdose. Create an art piece, plant a tree, light a candle – or simply take a moment to reflect and remember. Each life is valued and cherished, and many people are affected.

Share resources and materials

Download posters, fact sheets, social media graphics and more to help promote International Overdose Awareness day online and in your community. You can also get printed materials sent to you free of charge – email to order brochures, wallet cards or posters. 

Post or connect through conversations online

Use #IOAD, #StopOverdose and #EndStigma to share personal stories, blogposts and add your voice to the conversation on social media. Talking about overdose could save a life. Check out International Overdose Awareness Day on FacebookTwitter and Instagram to stay up-to-date on the latest news and activities.

Have a courageous conversation

More than ever, now is the time to reach out. Whether you are someone who uses drugs, or you know someone who uses drugs – have a conversation. Let someone know you care and that it’s safe to get help. Connecting with others can help people stay safer, raise awareness, and reduce stigma, which can make it easier for people to access support.

Where to find help

If you or someone you know uses drugs, visit an overdose prevention or supervised consumption site near you, get a free naloxone kit and use with a buddy.

If you are using alone, download the Lifeguard app and get connected to 9-1-1 automatically in the event of an unexpected overdose. If you suspect an overdose, call 9-1-1 right away.


Photo Credit: Overdose Day