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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.


  • This is a tribute to R., who battled drug addiction from the age of 14. He lived longer than most addicts. He fought hard every day, but because of debilitating pain in his back, he relapsed for the last time and died of an accidental overdose on January 23, 2015. He would have been 50 in a couple of months. I hope for a time that addicts are treated like patients and not like criminals in the United States of America. I watched for almost 25 years as the system failed him again and again. He was in and out of rehabs, jails, hospitals, methadone and other state treatment programs, never receiving the proper medical care. People who don't understand addiction think he didn't have enough "willpower" but that is just misinformation. It is a disease, and should be treated as such. It is a credit to him that he lived as long as he did, and stayed clean through most of his 40's until that one, final bad decision to turn to heroin instead of trusting his doctors to figure out a pain management program for his arthritis and damaged back. Over the years, he was my lover, my partner, and my best friend. We never married for financial reasons, because that would have prevented him from getting Medicaid. We never had children, because he already had 2 that he couldn't take care of from past relationships. It was a long journey. R., I hope you are at rest. I love you always. I miss you. You will always be here in my heart.
  • My dad passed away from a heroin overdose October 25, 2014. He was clean for over 10 years and then relapsed. It's an everyday struggle to deal with and I wish I would have known. I would have tried to help any way I could have. I am thankful my daughter and I were able to spend the holidays and birthdays with him that whole year before because usually we didn't see him for the holidays due to him living farther away. I believe God had a plan. I miss you dad with all my heart. Your birthday is in a couple days. It seems like everything is back to the new norm and then a holiday comes, then the new norm and another holiday. And now your birthday. We all love you and are happy you aren't suffering anymore. ❤️
  • I love and miss you Chad each and everyday. I wish I had one more day with you to finish what I was going to say. There are so many times I want to call you to talk or just to hear your voice without you I feel so lost and empty. I want you to know I love more than words can say. You cross my mind each and everyday. Love your aunt Kimmie
    Kimberly Gordon
  • My Dear Chad, You have been gone over two months now, but the pain of losing you has crushed me to my very soul. I miss you each and every day and I wonder why did this happen. Life is just not the same anymore. You are loved and you brought so much joy to our family. I know you struggled throughout your life with addiction and I wish I could of helped you. I wish I could of heard your voice one more time. I tried calling you several times all month long but never heard back. Oh how I wish I could hear your voice again, or maybe just give you a big hug and kiss. You were an amazing person, you were so funny and loveable and your spirit was out of this world. What a tragedy. You were my nephew I remember the day you were born, I love you so, I can remember the day that you learned to walk I couldn't have been more proud. This family has been ripped apart, losing you was a shock. The only conciliation is knowing that you don't have to struggle anymore even though it hurts your not here I wouldn't want you here suffering anymore. You are loved and always will be. I'm writing this in tribute to you and honor you. The Colts aren't going to the championship, sorry Chad. One day will be together again If GOD allows me. Until then my sweet boy you rest in Jehovahs loving memory. When you come back to this earth you will be made whole again without any pain or struggles with addiction. You will have the life that you deserve to have. Until then my boy just know that aunt Kimmie loves you with all my heart and soul.
    Aunt Kimberly Gordon
  • We lost our beloved Son on 1/3/15, 26 years old to heroin. / Still so raw, so unreal, how are we suppose to feel? / The world has lost a precious soul but in our hearts he left hole. / Devoted Father and precious Son, fought the battle that we wish he won. / Rest dear Patrick and watch over us, we feel you near but go on we must. / Your friends and family will forever miss you.
    Donna Devine
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