International Overdose Awareness Day, held on August 31 every year, is an opportunity to do more to prevent overdose and promote recovery. Events and activities around the world stimulate conversations to raise awareness of overdose and reduce stigma associated with drug-related deaths.
In the U.S., the drug overdose epidemic continues to expand, with national provisional drug counts reporting nearly 68,000 deaths from drug overdose deaths in 2018. One way to promote recovery, reverse harmful stereotypes about addiction, and improve care is by using person-centered language, which promotes nonjudgmental and neutral terminology by placing the person first and their condition second. For example, by replacing a stigmatizing term like “addict” with a nonjudgmental and neutral phrase like “person with substance use disorder,” we can center the person instead of defining them based on their medical condition.
For International Overdose Awareness Day 2019, NACCHO celebrates the many city and county health departments across the country, such as the Tri-County Health Department in Colorado and the Washington County Health Department in Missouri, which have registered to host community events to provide naloxone trainings, hear from people in recovery, and promote community resources in an effort to prevent overdose deaths.
Learn more about International Overdose Awareness Day events and resources to get involved by clicking here.