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International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD) is a global event held on August 31st each year and aims to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death. It also acknowledges the grief felt by families and friends remembering those who have met with death or permanent injury as a result of drug overdose.

IOAD spreads the message that the tragedy of overdose death is preventable. Wear Silver to show your support.

The theme for 2014 is Rethink and Remember. Download the 2014 poster and infographics here.


  • Today marks 6 months since my best friend Ben died of a heroin overdose. Not a day goes by when I don't think of him. Ben struggled with addiction since he was 13 years old. I met him when I myself was 12 and he 13. From day 1 he had a high-energy, fast paced and eccentric personality. You either loved him or you hated him, and I loved him wholeheartedly. He struggled for years with this terrible and scary addiction. At one point it had so much control over his life that he started to pull away from his family, friends and me. He also battled with depression, insecurity and shame for his addiction. He died September 19th, 2014 at his home. He was 21 years old. He had so much potential, that he just did not see within himself. Every day I wake up with regret; maybe if I had really talked to him about his addiction he would still be here. What if I had told him how much it frightened me? How much it would devastate so many people if we lost him? I will never know. I lost my oldest, dearest and closest friend to drugs. And I will never be the same. Ben I love you, I miss you, and l will never stop telling our stories.
  • To my sister who I lost a little over a month ago....So many things were left unsaid. I'm sorry I wasn't there. I'm sorry I couldn't help you more. I would give anything to go back and see you one more time. To tell you that I love you, regardless of your choices. To tell you that you have to get though this because we have so much left to do together.  I would have told you that you are stronger than this disease and that you can beat it if you really wanted to. You have so many friends and family that love you unconditionally, and your beautiful little girl. I want you to know that she will always be cared for. She is our little piece of you, and through her you will live on for all of us. I love you and I miss you and you will never be forgotten.
  • To my mom I love you, and can't believe you have been gone for 9 years.  I miss you everyday and wish you still were her with me.  I wish you hadn't taken your anti-depressants that day.  If you hadn't, you still would be here.  I love you and will always miss you.  See you in Heaven Mommy.  
  • My son Seth, 22, died of an overdose on Jan 31, 2015.  He had been sober since Sept. 2014, and during that time I had never seen him happier.  He relapsed two days before he died because anxiety was once again getting the best of him.  He was so special to our family - such a unique person, and loved by so many.  My son was one of the many who had mental health issues (he would seem normal to an outsider however) and struggled so much with anxiety.  It became a merry-go-round of use to elminate anxiety, then get sober, then feel good for awhile, then the anxiety comes back, and use again.  I wish there was money redirected from the justice system for research on combating addition.  Yes there are self help groups, and yes there is rehab and other counseling available.  However a diagnosed addict struggles when using, and when sober. Science needs to step it up and figure out what causes addiction, and find a cure.
  • My sister, who I held dear, never got out of the thick of addiction like I did. And I'm not saying that there's anything special about me. There was definitely something special about her, but drugs seemed to diminish more and more of that special something year after year of constant abuse. She was still my person. She was still my other half. She still made me laugh. I still made her laugh uncontrollably. Her sense of humor lives on in me. I even have the tattoo of her nickname for me, Eggroll, on my wrist, which is directly below the star tattoo that we both got the same day 7 years ago. I am having an increasingly difficult time with the grief of her loss. I miss her incredibly, as do everyone who has ever came in contact with her. Here's to you, Bridgitte. I love you.
Wearing silver can signify the loss of someone cherished and sends out a message that the tragedy of overdose death is preventable. Order your Silver Badge today.


Remembering those who have died – or been injured – because of overdose is an important part of International Overdose Awareness Day. If you would like to commemorate somebody, please add tributes here. Tributes will be posted on this website as soon as they are approved.

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Overdose Aware app

The Overdose Aware app aims to raise awareness amongst those who are experiencing drug use and their families, of how to recognise overdose signs and respond accordingly. The app shares information about what is an overdose, what are some of the key depressant, stimulant, opioid  and alcohol overdose symptoms.

Created with the kind support of the William Buckland Foundation, the Overdose Aware app is available for download on iPhone and Android. Read more>>


Thousands of people die each year from drug related causes.They come from all walks of life.

Do you recognise the signs and symptoms of overdose? What is the impact of drug use and overdose on family, friends and those experiencing it?

These videos are where people affected by the impact of drugs use and overdose share some of their stories.

“There wasn’t any white light. I didn’t make out Jesus or see my dead family members. It was just oblivion and it was very frightening.”


Canberra, ACT

Canberra, ACT
Event name: Directions IOAD Awareness Session
Location: City Needle and Syringe Program, Office 1, ground floor, City Health Centre, 1 Moore St, Canberra 2601 Map:
Type of event: Staff at our primary needle and syringe outlet will promote the campaign with overdose awareness posters, resources, hand out silver badges and educate visitors about the Canberra Alliance for Harm Minimisation and Advocacy Overdose Prevention and Management (Naloxone) Course
Date and time: Friday 29 August, 9am to 1pm and 1.30pm to 5pm
Contact: Sascha Dilger
Phone: (02) 6132 4832


International Overdose Awareness Day is an initiative of Penington Institute and is funded with the kind support of our partner organisations.

RE Trust
The William Buckland Foundation