August 31 is International Overdose Awareness Day, an annual occasion dedicated to educating the public about a well-known but often misunderstood problem. It’s also a time to remember the lives lost to drug overdoses, eliminate the stigma surrounding overdose deaths, and empower communities to take meaningful action to combat the problem.
DRUG OVERDOSE: WHAT THE NUMBERS ARE TELLING US
While even one life lost to a drug overdose is one too many, recent statistics on overdose deaths are especially startling. More drug-related deaths occur in North America than anywhere else in the world. One-quarter of all drug-related deaths happen in the US. For people under age 50, drug overdoses are the leading cause of death. Every day, 120 people lose their lives to an overdose, and 2016 saw a staggering 64,000 drug-related deaths.
INTERNATIONAL OVERDOSE AWARENESS DAY: REMEMBER LIVES LOST TO OVERDOSE
Too often, the lives claimed by drug overdoses are merely seen as figures in growing statistics, but their loved ones know better. International Overdose Awareness Day gives communities an opportunity to commemorate lives lost to drug use, raise awareness, and help people get connected to substance abuse treatment. If you’d like to get involved, here are a few suggestions:
- Learn all you can about how to recognize signs of a drug overdose.
- Hold a candlelight vigil and create safe spaces for people to share their stories about losing a friend or family member to drug use.
- Contact state and federal legislators to advocate for better laws geared toward opioid abuse prevention, alcohol abuse treatment, and the like.
- Partner with local organizations to raise funds and educate the public about how to prevent drug overdoses.
- Follow the National Safety Council on Facebook to learn more about raising awareness.
- If you’ve lost a loved one to a drug overdose, you can place that person’s name on the Celebrating Lost Loved Ones map.
- Distribute purple shirts and wristbands in honor of International Overdose Awareness Day, display empty hats or shoes in memory of lives lost, or provide paint and canvas for people to stamp a hand print as a tribute to a lost loved one.
COMPREHENSIVE SUBSTANCE ABUSE TREATMENT
Whether you need alcohol withdrawal treatment or are addicted to prescription drugs, Ridgeview Institute can help. We provide a comprehensive, customized approach that includes inpatient care, partial hospitalization, and/or intensive outpatient therapy. Contact us to learn more or to schedule an evaluation.