The National Safety Council is calling on Americans to observe International Overdose Awareness Day on Aug. 31 by taking time to remember lost loved ones and acting to prevent overdose. Opioid overdose deaths, in particular, have reached alarming numbers in the U.S. in recent years.
Of the 61,311 preventable drug overdoses in the country in 2017, more than 43,000 involved opioids. Preventable opioid overdose deaths increased nearly 14% in 2017 from 2016, and are up 633% since 1999.
“Opioid misuse touches one in every four Americans, and these deaths are completely preventable,” said Lorraine M. Martin, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “International Overdose Awareness Day is an opportunity for those who have lost loved ones to remember and reflect. It is also a time to reduce stigma and prevent future deaths by supporting education and advocacy efforts.”
Community members are encouraged to commemorate International Overdose Awareness Day by hosting or attending a candlelight vigil, participating in an educational program on how to administer the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone, disposing of unused medications or sharing an art-based project memorializing lives lost.
You also can:
- Add the name of a loved one who died of an opioid overdose to the Celebrating Lost Loved Ones map
- Access the NSC Facebook page to get a purple International Overdose Awareness Day frame for your Facebook profile picture beginning Aug. 20
- Share the NSC Facebook Live virtual candlelight vigil, starting at 11 a.m. CT Aug. 30
- Become a Safety Ambassador by hosting a community fundraising event
- Contact elected officials about overdose prevention
NSC provides free Warn-Me labels sized to fit on insurance and prescription cards without covering up important information. The labels encourage patients to ask questions about the risks of prescribed opioids and whether there are safer, effective alternatives. Learn more at nsc.org/takeaction.
For more International Overdose Awareness Day ideas, visit nsc.org/overdoseawarenessday.