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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.

The theme for 2015 is Rethink and Remember. New downloadable resources for 2015 will be available shortly.


  • My son died. He died from an overdose, the coroner described it as drug toxicity, mostly heroin. There was a wide range of other substances also in his system. I watched him battle this insidious addiction over many years. He was loved deeply by his family and his many friends. The day he died was cold and wild weather, he had been to work all day, he came home changed and headed out again to meet friends. On his return he went to his bedroom and that is where we found him. Our loss is immense and we miss him dreadfully, we wish he could be here to share ordinary day to day activities. In fact I wouldn't even mind if we had one of those heated moments that then ended in a hug and Ï love you mum". The silence around his death is difficult, the stigma and at times the judgment but as he would say they don't know me. I miss that smile, the dancing in the hallway when he thought no one was looking, the hugs, the jokes but most of all I miss him. She is a cruel mistress heroin. Love you Kris
  • I had no idea he was using hard drugs.  We had already been through pain pill addiction. His dr gave him suboxen which had a deeper addiction and control over my son's life.  After 18 months of using this "prescribed" drug, he cleaned up.  Hallelujah!  I thought we were on the road to recovery.  He found his wife on top of another man and it only took 30 days of her lying (that they would get back together) and her cheating (she left him after counseling to have sex with her man) before he was hooked again.  This time, it was fentanyl.  A lethal dose and he died instantly with a needle still in his veins.  I never got to tell him I loved him.  I never got to tell him good-bye.  And to make things worse, I found out on Facebook.  No official has ever called me to tell me my son died.
  • I lost my boyfriend of 16 years to heroin on 5/15/2015. We were junior high sweethearts and I knew from the moment my eyes met his I would be by his side forever. I just never knew forever would come to an end at the young age of 29. He began using heroin a year before he died right around the time our twins were born. We also have an 8 year old.  He battled addiction for almost 10 years, but heroin came into the picture and took the love of my life in the blink of an eye. He had a beautiful soul, always wanted to make others smile, and was always encouraging others battling addiction to seek God and look to their children for their motivation to get clean . His faith was strong, and he loved his 3 girls with all he had. He ended up dying 1 day before we were going to take our oldest to Disney World. He was dead for almost two days before anyone found his body. I had no idea how bad the addiction became until after he died. He always told me he was clean and we were making plans for our future. The pain I am living with today makes me feel hopeless at times but reading other people's stories tells me I'm not alone.  God bless all the families out there who are grieving. I love you Danny.. promise promise
  • In loving memory of my best friend Chris. I never knew he had ever done heroin. He kept it a secret. It's horrible how addicts are treated in this country. Everyone is so judgmental. Maybe he would've told someone, & got help, but he didn't in fear of being judged. It can happen to anyone. I know so many who said they would never try it & did. No addict planned on becoming one. So many overdose & die everyday. I'd do anything to have my best friend back. He was only 33yrs old. I love you Bub. <3
  • In loving memory of our son Matthew who died 9/23/2008. One month before his 20th birthday. He overdosed on drugs the doctor gave him. I was to stupid to know what that drug would be the death of our son. He was battling depression,so I thought a doctor would help him. So parents be aware. I miss him so much. Half my heart is in heaven.
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.”



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