World overdose day brings hope across the globe

Held each year on 31 August, International Overdose Awareness Day is the world’s largest annual campaign to end overdose.

An estimated 585,000 people died across the world as a result of drug use in 2017. In most cases, the deaths were avoidable.

International Overdose Awareness Day works to create awareness about overdose prevention and provides support to families and friends who have lost loved ones.

The day was first observed in Australia in 2001. Since 2012, International Overdose Awareness Day has been coordinated in Australia by Penington Institute. By 2019, it had grown to 874 events in 39 countries.

In addition to creating awareness, the day also aims to break down fear and stigma that often surrounds overdose. The campaign approaches the sensitive subject with compassion and understanding to all individuals affected, including family and friends.

The day also aims to encourage action and discussion about evidence-based overdose prevention and drug policy. A number of Australian not-for-profit organisations use research to improve community safety in relation to drugs.

To learn more about the campaign, or to post a tribute to someone lost, visit

If you (or someone you know) need treatment, information or advice for alcohol and drug-related issues, please contact DirectLine on 1800 888 236 or search for your local intake provider on the Victorian Government website.


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Brimbank City Council acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of this land, the Wurundjeri People, and pays our respects to Elders past and present.