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An inspired idea

International Overdose Awareness Day originated in Melbourne, Australia in 2001.

More than a decade on, what began as an event in the back yard of a suburban crisis centre in Melbourne has evolved into International Overdose Awareness Day with a commitment to raising awareness that the tragedy of overdose death is preventable.

Beginning in 2012 International Overdose Day was organized by the non-profit Australian public health body Anex, which in April 2014 became a program of newly launched Penington Institute.

In 2013, International Overdose Awareness Day events ranged from remembrance ceremonies to community awareness raising to community training on naloxone administration. Events were held in Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, India, Slovak Republic, United Kingdom and Scotland, and the United States. Its global significance reflects the universality of the human emotions triggered by the tragedy of overdose – a tragedy that is preventable.

In 2014, with the theme of Rethink / Remember events are once again happening around the world. Check out the 2017 events page for the list of registered events happening.

International Overdose Awareness Day encompasses and creates space for responding to all types of overdose due to psychoactive substances whether they are depressants (including opioids, opioid and non-opioid prescription drugs, and alcohol) or stimulants (cocaine and ATS).

Penington Institute

Penington Institute advances health and community safety by connecting substance use research to practical action. We help individuals and the wider community through research analysis, promotion of effective strategies, workforce education and public awareness activities.

Launched in 2014, Penington Institute has grown out of the rich and vibrant work of one of its programs – Anex, and its close to 20 years experience working with people and families directly affected by problematic drug use.

Penington Institute addresses this complex issue with knowledge and compassion. We not only help individuals, but also the wider community through our research analysis, promotion of effective strategies, workforce education and public awareness activities.

International Overdose Awareness Day is funded with the kind support of The William Buckland Foundation and The RE Ross Trust.