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International Overdose Awareness Day aims to raise awareness that the tragedy of overdose death is preventable.

Overdose Day

An inspired idea

International Overdose Awareness Day originated in 2001 after a discussion between Sally J. Finn and Peter Streker.

Sally was managing a needle and syringe program for The Salvation Army in St. Kilda, Victoria, Australia at the time and Peter was co-ordinator of the Community and Health Development Program at the City of Port Phillip (Melbourne, Australia).

They planned to hold a local event and give ribbons out for anyone who wished to commemorate a friend, partner or family member who had passed away. Any member of the community, even if not directly affected, could wear a ribbon to offer their condolences to those who had suffered overdose.

On that first year 6,000 ribbons were distributed not only locally but throughout the state and further.

The following year the steel badge was designed and requests for information and badges came from New Zealand as well as all over Australia.

Since that time many community organisations, government and non-government organisations such as hospitals, community health centres and user groups both in large cities in the US, UK and Australia have held events to raise awareness and commemorate those who have been lost to drug overdose.

Since 2012 International Overdose Awareness Day has been organised by the non-profit Australian public health body Penington Institute after Salvation Army Crisis Services transferred responsibility.

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.

Intending on holding an event for International Overdose Awareness Day? Register your event here.

You can also show your support for by wearing a badge or wristband.