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2019 International Overdose Awareness Day (August 31)

From 1999 through 2017, more than 700,000 people died from a drug overdose in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Over two-thirds (68%) of the more than 70,200 drug overdose deaths in 2017 involved an opioid. The number of deaths that year from both prescription and illegal opioids was six times higher than in 1999. 

International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD) is an annual global event on August 31 that is designed to raise awareness of drug overdose and spread the message that drug overdose and its devastating consequences are preventable.   IOAD was also established to reduce the stigma of drug-related deaths and acknowledge the grief felt by families and friends remembering those who have died or suffered permanent injury as a result of drug overdose. 

First observed in Australia in 2001, IOAD is now commemorated in many nations around the world. During 2018, there were a total of nearly 750 registered IOAD-related events and activities in a total of 38 countries worldwide. 

To help your agency and community observe the day, we’ve compiled an annotated list of online resources focusing on drug overdose. 

International Overdose Awareness Day.  This is the official website for IOAD.  It includes an international listing of activities by nation, state, or territory; basic information, facts, and statistics about drug overdose; downloadable resources and videos; and a tributes page to commemorate persons who have died as a result of drug overdose.

Resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 

CDC has developed and compiled extensive resources about the opioid overdose epidemic. Its Opioid Overdose web pages are divided into the following sections: 

  • Opioid Basics – includes pages on recent statistics and trends in opioid overdose deaths, commonly used terms, prescription opioids, heroin, and fentanyl. 
  • Data – includes pages with detailed statistics and maps on opioid prescriptions; overdose data for prescription opioids, heroin, and synthetic opioids; and law enforcement encounters in which persons tested positive for fentanyl. 
  • Overdose Prevention – includes pages on improving opioid prescribing, preventing and treating opioid use disorder, reversing overdose, and CDC’s role in overdose prevention. 
  • Information for Patients – includes pages on nonopioid treatment options for chronic pain, expectations for opioid therapy, preventing opioid misuse, frequently asked questions (FAQs), and a prescription opioids awareness campaign. 
  • State Information – includes information about promising strategies to address opioid overdose, state prescription drug laws, state opioid overdose surveillance, and state success stories in responding to the overdose epidemic. 
  • Resource Center – includes an online pressroom, shareable graphics and videos, data resources, information on CDC’s Rx Awareness campaign, and additional resources from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 


Resources from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

SAMHSA also has extensive resources on substance use, including the following:

Opioid Overdose Prevention Toolkit (also available in Spanish

TIP 63: Medications for Opioid Use Disorder – Full Document (Including Executive Summary and Parts 1 through 5) 

Finding Quality Treatment for Substance Use Disorders (also available in Spanish)

Use of Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder in Criminal Justice Settings

Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators in the United States: Results from the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health)

“Rx Pain Medications, Know the Options, Get the Facts” - This is a series of fact sheets that includes the following: