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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.

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


  • To my big brother I loved you form my youngest memories you also struggled for as long as I can remember you left us September 16 2015 not a day goes by that I don't think about you and wish we could just sit and talk like brother should about life and it's ups and downs I have no one to share my fears with or to share my hope with you dying showed me how much I want to live tomarrow morning I will have 6 months sober, Love you Santino Frank Sorise!! You will always be my big bro!
  • Dearest Adam, My heart has been shattered with the pain of the loss of you! We tried for so long to help you and to try to discourage you from taking the pain killers and with no prevail we loss you! My whole world has turned upside down! The loss of your brother was enough to put us over the edge! But 12 years later we deal with your loss now too! We had no control over what happened to David, but with you we tried! And now we see how unhappy you really were! Now you are at peace and no more pain! But best of all you are now with your brother! We love you both and miss you both very much! With tears in my eyes, I say, see you later!
  • My son, Andrew Gibson, passed away in Portland Maine on April 11, 2015 after a three-year battle with Heroin addiction. He was 21 years young. Andrew started using drugs in Middle School in his hometown of Billerica, Massachusetts at the tender age of 13.  First it was marijuana which he used to excess and often times 3-4 times a day-starting his day with it before going to school. He sold marijuana for many years until he graduated to opiates. Like most kids his age, he started with Perc 30's until he discovered that for much less money he could buy Heroin. Andrew told me years later that he had no idea that Heroin was so addictive...that his body would need it...and without it he would be sick. Andrew never went to college, his learning disabilities made school difficult for him and he never liked it. He was very successful his last two years of high school at IACS, a charter school in Tyngsboro, Mass., principally because of the wonderful supportive community at the school, the teachers and administration.  Andrew graduated from high school in 2012. Andrew loved dirt bikes and actually did his senior project on the dynamics of dirt bike engines. He also loved cars and was proud of his Acura Integra that he would drive to school with the sound system that he installed blaring. Andrew was always put together....looking "fresh" and wearing a hat to match the color of his shirt and sneakers. He took pride in how he presented himself, cleaning the dirt off his spotless white sneakers, wiping smudges off his mirror sunglasses and sporting a crisp haircut.He was well liked, charismatic, respectful, kind, a good friend, and always willing to help a friend. Andrew had difficulty being kind to himself always focusing on his mistakes and diminishing his successes. Andrew relapsed many times and struggled with embracing the 12 steps. It took being arrested in 2014 for possession and trafficking of Heroin and being sent to Middleton Jail to make him realize how serious his addiction had become. He went to a sober house in Portland, Maine called Skip Murphy's where he learned how to live sober. He got a job as a cook at a local restaurant, learned how to do everything on the grill, was proud that he learned and was good at something new, started to work the steps, got a sponsor, attended and spoke at regular meetings, started mental health counseling, joined a gym, was feeling good about himself.  Physically, he looked and felt great having gained back some weight that he lost when he was on dope. Andrew helped countless people in his short time with us.  Many people have commented to me that they would not be sober or even alive if they had not met Andrew. So what happened? Fentanyl being sold as Heroin by dealers making money by killing people.  If you are not familiar with what Fentanyl is it is a potent synthetic opioid analgesic used in surgical procedures. It is 20 times more potent than Heroin. When laced with Heroin, the substance is toxic and deadly.  It is believed that there is a batch being sold as 90 percent Fentanyl disguised as Heroin.  This is murder and the drug dealers should be held responsible.  We must be vigilant in reporting known dealers to the Police. I have given the Portland Police and DEA the name, phone number and address of the individual who sold my son the deadly drug that took his life. Where do I begin to put into words the pain I have to carry at losing my son at the age of 21? Drug addiction and the underlying mental illness that it carries with it is an epidemic in this country. An evil life sucking plague.  We must change! Andrew loved going to the coffee shop (Yordprom Coffee Co.) right around the corner from his apartment...ordering his usual sweet iced Vietnamese Coffee....he took me there many times. I have been writing this missive sitting at his favorite coffee shop speaking to the people who work here and learning that they remember him fondly....always smiling and polite. My proud son. Andrew loved the Lord of the Rings books and movies. One of the sayings from that series that he often referred to - "It's a dangerous business stepping outside of your door because if you lose your feet there's no telling where you will be swept off to."  I hope and trust that you, my darling angel, have been swept off to a magical, peaceful place free of pain and filled with love and joy.  I will see you soon....I love you to infinity, my beautiful son. I picture you driving the car you were saving for....a Subaru WRX with your tunes on...very loudly...just having left the tanning salon and the gym....heading to Whole Foods for one of your favorite protein burritos....feeling and looking good...and chillin with friends.....all of your favorite things... You will be missed....never forgotten....and always loved....for infinity My Beautiful Boy. Love you, Mom....your Number 1 fan....xxoo Blessings and peace.....
  • My 25 year old son died May 14, 2014.  Three days after Mothers Day.  Eric was a brilliant kid.  He had grown up very happy and always smiling.  A happy child who liked video games, anything electronic, and was well liked at school.  In fact he would win student of the month for two years in a row.  Eric never had a sip of soda.  Yet as he got older, after high school in which he got the highest MCAS and SAT scores in his class, he seemed to change.  He was happy he was excepted in a University studying Hospitality Management, hoping one day to own his own hotel.  Entering college he suddenly was getting depressed and I didn't know why.  He was the type of kid who would keep things to himself because he didn't want me to feel bad.  So he took it upon himself to go to a doctor for help.  After many kinds of anti depressants later, they were not working.  They were changing him, making him worse.  As a result, he turned to street drugs.  A kind soul who would put others before him, he knew he needed help.  Many rehabs later, even out of state three times to get into a different atmosphere, he was fine for a while.  Getting back to school but he called me and said he could no longer grasp school after three years of trying.  at the end of his life, he really wanted help.  But heroin can't help you cope, it just pretends too.  He never used a needle, but snorted it so in his mind he wasn't an addict.  He was a great kid never in trouble and he loved me very much and I loved him so.  On May 13 just two days after Mothers Day I found him slumped over in his room.  My life was forever changed.  It has been two years and I have what's called " complicated grief." A feeling you are stuck in time, that I have to live with I couldn't save him, that I too don't want to go on.  But I have another son.  I remember our last Mothers Day.  We had a great time.  I am so so sad I will never get over this.  My son, my best friend I tried everything to help him.
  • Chrissy you have crossed over and I have intense loss and anger and plain but feel you finally at peace. Please look over me In the afterlife as I fiercely tried to with you for 43 years in this life.

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. 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.”



International Overdose Awareness Day is an initiative of Penington Institute.
Overdose Day is volunteer driven and we are grateful to the many individuals and organisations all over the world who support and participate.

RE Trust
The William Buckland Foundation