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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 not so much a letter of commemorating a passing loved one, but this is a letter of tribute to those who are doing it tough and struggling with their use of drugs. all of these people on this page have had to deal with the passing of a parent, sibling, close family member or friend. they have had to deal with such a high level of grief that is unimaginable, and for those reading this and are struggling with the abuse of drugs, please, you dont want your loved ones to be posting a tribute to you and how you've sadly passed. and to my best friend louise, i dont want you to go like that, as much as it is a way to escape the realitys of real life, its not something to get a habit of. i want you to know that i love you like my own sister and i cant and dont want to imagine life without you by my side. there is a way out, there are people who love and support you, no matter who you are or what you do, you are never alone in this world. that dark cloud cant hover over your head forever, you will get out of this, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel but sometimes you just have to work harder to see it. "surrender to what is, let go of what was, have faith in what will be"
  • To my late fiancee, the wonderful intelligent, warm heart-ed, creative, joyful, handsome Mohamed, who died March 2014, who lived for 33 years on earth. I love you, and will always love you endlessly, I can still recall clearly how your eyes smile, like if you are here yesterday,  and still remember your voice on the phone and the special phrases you use when you talk, still can smell you like if you just passed behind me. I pray to see you again in the next life. I am sorry I could not rescue you this time, I am really sorry I did not move on time. If my skin can produce tears it would, from every cell on my body. I miss you Mohammed. Fiancee
  • On December 25th, 2009, I lost my 23 year old sister to a drug overdose, that is no way anyone should spend Christmas. Since her passing, it has been a real eye opener for my family, my other sister who used pills recreationally went to detox & I went to rehab for alcohol we both have over a year sober & yes we might not have been as a serious addict as our sister who lost the battle to this disease but we definitely have been educated through NA & AA and we understand her demons & ours more. My family still does not celebrate Christmas, were not ready yet ; I miss my sister Annemarie everyday and i wish she was fortunate enough to find the rooms and fellowship, but a higher power had a different plan than her, drugs is no joke and life threating i just wish people understood that because of this disease ill never get to see my sister again and shell never get to meet her niece. My sister was a great person who got caught up in the wrong thing & i want her to be remebmbered for who she was not for what she died of.
  • It's been exactly one month since I lost my fiancée to a heroin overdose. I received the call from his father that he had passed in a restaurant bathroom and was found hours after his death. I'm still in shock and don't know how I've made it a month already. He left 2 of his own children and two of mine. It was a struggle he battled for more than 20 years. I am not a user and often wondered why it was so hard to just quit. Today, after watching his struggle for the 8 years I spent with him, I know it was not a choice to be an addict, it was a disease he could not conquer or overcome. Not because he was weak but because the addiction had a hold on him that none of us did, he couldn't do it for his children, me, his parents or himself. I do NOT want his death in vain, he was a great man with a kind heart. I will not let the addiction define him, he was so much more than that. I know he is free of the pain he endured every single day and is at peace. I am willing to take the pain and grief from his death so that he will not ever suffer again. I do this because of the great deal and love I have for him. Everyday is a struggle to breathe for me without him in my life, but knowing he is resting peacefully gives some solace to his death. I will continue to miss him terribly too I see him again someday. There needs to be more attention paid to this epidemic that is ruining the lives of some many people. He was only 37 years old with a whole life ahead.....I miss and love you my love!!!
  • Simone S - another year has passed and I still miss you just as much as ever. Lately you have been coming to me in my dreams - I'm not sure if you are supporting me through difficult times or it's just me wanting you so badly to be with me now. Regardless of how much time passes, I will never forget you and the special friendship we shared. My love and thoughts are with you always - Lisa xxxxx
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