International Overdose Awareness Day
Posted on 08/31/2023
The Theme of this year's International Overdose Awareness Day is "Recognizing Those People Who Go Unseen."  

Local communities in Benton & Franklin counties and worldwide are coming together on 8/31/23 to remember those who have died or suffered permanent injury due to drug overdose. 

Observed on August 31 every year, International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD) seeks to create a better understanding of overdose, reduce the stigma of drug-related deaths, and create change that reduces the harms associated with drug use. 

We are joining a global movement for understanding, compassion, and change. 

Global overdose rates have skyrocketed in the last 25 years. In 2020, an estimated 284 million people worldwide had used a drug in the past 12 months, a 26 percent increase from 2010. 

The situation is especially severe in the US. In 2021, provisional data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated there were 107,622 drug overdose deaths, an increase of 15 percent from 2020.  

In Benton and Franklin counties, there has been a 100% increase in overdose deaths in the construction, labor, and trade industries in 2020. This group has sustained the most deaths of any industry per vital records data. Food service worker overdose deaths increased by 300% in 2020.  

"By coming together to remember those we have lost, we stand together to say that more needs to be done to end overdose in our community," said Shelley Little, Public Health Nurse, "we encourage members of the community to stand in solidarity with the men and women who have been personally affected by overdose." 

International Overdose Awareness Day is convened by the Penington Institute, an Australian not-for-profit. This year, for the first time, they have announced a campaign theme: Recognizing those who go unseen.  

With our theme for 2023, we honor the people whose lives have been altered by overdose. They are the family and friends grieving the loss of a loved one; workers in healthcare and support services extending strength and compassion; or spontaneous first responders who selflessly assume the role of a lifesaver.
You can help save a life and prevent and overdose death by carrying Naloxone. Learn more about this legal lifesaving medication and how to use it at