The Deepening Opioid Crisis: Recognizing International Overdose Awareness Day on August 31

On August 31, we pause to recognize International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD) – an event that brings to light the staggering and ever-growing numbers related to overdose deaths, particularly due to opioids.

Recent data from the CDC tells a grim story. Of the almost 110,000 reported drug overdose deaths in 2022, approximately three-quarters of them were attributed to opioids. That’s not all. Unintentional overdose deaths from nonmedical use of drugs or alcohol in the workplace have soared by a shocking 536% since 2011. In 2021 alone, they totaled 464, making up almost 9% of all occupational injury deaths that year.

Addressing these issues is a shared responsibility and is not just a day of remembrance but a clarion call to action – from workplaces to communities.

Here’s What You Can Do:

1. Equip Workplaces with Naloxone: One of the most impactful measures against opioid overdose is the administration of naloxone nasal spray. Talk to your workplace about including it in their first aid kits and ensure that employees receive training to use it during emergencies. This life-saving medication is now available over-the-counter and has been highlighted in the NSC’s online and in-person First Aid Training.

2. Recognize Overdose Signs: Knowledge is power. Familiarize yourself with the signs of an opioid overdose. These can occur anywhere and anytime. Recognizing symptoms early can be the difference between life and death.

3. Share and Listen to Real Stories: The NSC Survivor Advocates platform is a space filled with stories of individuals whose lives have been irrevocably altered due to opioids. Share these narratives or add your personal account to the Celebrating Lost Loved Ones map.

The opioid crisis is a collective challenge, and it demands a collective response. This August 31, come together not only in remembrance but also in commitment – to spread awareness, to provide resources, and to save lives.