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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.


  • My son Simon told me on the 4th of June about his addiction, he then went in to long-term rehab in Oct 2014 which was for 6 months.On the 31st of January the rehab center phoned me at 8.45am to tell me my 20 year old son was dead. He had been in rehab for 4 months. The shock, pain and overwhelming unbearable feelings as a mother, for his father and brother..I can`t even begin to explain. I spoke with my son 4 days before his death and he was happy about getting out of rehab, making plans for his future etc etc and now there is nothing. Its all over and just gone, my family had planned to visit him on the 5th of march which would have been his 21st birthday - which is one week from today, and now nothing. My son was the most kindest, sweet-hearted person you could have known. He never saw fault or badness in anyone.I´m not just saying this because he was my son, anyone who knew him or meet him would tell you the same thing. I can´t begin to say how we are going to cope with never seeing him again, never be able to tell him again how much we love him but I can say that for 20 years I was the mother of a wonderful, beautiful son who give me so much joy and happiness any parent could wish for.So now even though i´m broken and can never be fixed again, even though a part of me died with you Simon, thank you for all the amazing memories you gave me. We love you, we miss you and life will never been the same without forever and always.Your mum, dad and brother Patrick.
  • My dear brother passed away on June 5th, 2014- the day before his 45th birthday.  He was such an amazing loving person and I sit here almost 9 months after he passed away, still wondering how we can make it in this lifetime without him.  He was such a big part of my life, always there when you needed him and just a wonderful person.  To lose him over something as stupid as drugs just hurts like there is no tomorrow.  He survived cancer to be pulled down by his pain and with the loss of Dad a year before, he struggled everyday and I guess he thought the drugs would help - they never help!  Now me and Mom are left here on earth to grieve until we meet again. I love you Jerry, miss you everyday.
  • My little brother died 32 years ago he would of been 42 today. It is still hard. Then 3 months ago my dear nephew Chad died of a drug overdose. The night we got the phone call at 3:00 in the morning on Sunday was such a blur. All I heard was that something was wrong, that Chad was not breathing. The rescue workers tried and tried to revive him but he never regain consciousness. He was flown to a nearby hospital who keep him on life support for the whole 12 hours, but he had 6 cardiac arrest and finally passed away on Sunday at 3:12 that Sunday afternoon. It was so surreal. That image is planted in my mind, that I wish I could erase. Just losing him has turned my world upside down. I find it hard to make it through the day, He is the first thing I think of in the morning and the last thing on my mind when I go to sleep. He had his whole life in front of him, he was only 36 years old with a 6 year old daughter who he loved dearly. This tragedy has ripped this family apart. Chad was a huge part of our family. He was the first born grandson and my first nephew - I was so proud to be his aunt. I love him so and I miss him everyday.. He had a spirit that was out of this world, he would make you laugh and he came up with these silly songs that he would sing. He loved to talk and never met a stranger. I wonder how I will ever mend. Just knowing he isn't here anymore is to hard to bear. I want to talk to him and see him, but I know I cant. I long for him, My heart is broken. My big sweet teddy bear is gone. This world just isn't the same without him here. But I honor you Chad for all the things you brought into this world. Laughter, kindness and a loyalty beyond compare. You are loved and always will be.  Love, your aunt Kimmie.
  • My son died Dec 3rd 2014 Tyler Scott Thomas, it was a accidental drug overdose.  My family tree is full of addiction, why? I don't understand. He was only 23 years old . I love my son with all my heart. He shouldn't have been taken so soon.  I don't think it does get any easier.  I'm still in as much pain today as I was when he died.  I lift Tyler up today. I am very proud of u Tyler! U made mistakes but u were a awesome kid may u R.I.P. I love u son u will always be remembered, I'm sorry for not being a better mother I'm so sorry that I didn't pay attention to what u need before u died. I'm sorry for what u went through before u died.  I wish u were still here  I will never forget u. U live on in Tyler princess. I love u son . I know u r in heaven. God will take good care of u, like he has great grandma & Jim  I know I will c u again, I love u always & forever. Your mom michele
  • It has been nearly three weeks since my beautiful 27 year old son died of an accidental overdose. The pain, loss and sadness that his father, little brother, uncle and multitudes of friends have gone through is nearly unbearable. We tried rehab and seeing a psychiatrist who specialized in addiction, but his darkness and deception was too deep. I will always miss his gentle creative, loving spirit. I am splayed open by the things he kept hidden from everyone. I only hope he can find peace, joy and light beyond 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 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