Saturday was International Overdose Awareness Day, which memorializes those who have died or have sustained a permanent injury resulting from an overdose. In addition, it aims to condole the grief of families and friends of overdose victims while promoting addiction treatment and educating the public that overdoses are preventable. This takes place on August 31st each year and was created by Sally Finn of Melbourne, Australia in 2001. At the time Finn was the manager of a Salvation Army syringe program and saw the need for an outlet for the friends and families of those who had overdosed.
This day came just after the White House hosted a media briefing to look at overdose trends in the US and reveal their new “opioid toolkit” that strives to reduce the volume of opioid overdoses and educate public servants and the public.
The opioid toolkit is free and equips communities and local governments – such as first responders, treatment providers with resources that help them create policies and practices to prevent opioid overdoses and deaths.
Both International Overdose Awareness Day and the White House briefing are thoughtful responses to a real epidemic. Here are some statistics that paint the picture of overdose in the US by the CDC and the American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians respectively:
• Drug overdose was responsible for 38,329 deaths in the US in 2010. US overdose deaths have increased for 11 successive years. In 2010, and for the third year in a row, the number of US citizens whose deaths were drug related exceeded the number of fatalities in road traffic accidents (32,885). Opioid analgesic overdoses have claimed 125,000 US lives in the last decade.
• In 2012 the number-one cause of death in 17 US states was prescription drug abuse, and that figure surpassed the number of fatalities caused by motor vehicle accidents.
Harmony Foundation treats those suffering from addiction to drugs and alcohol. We are located in Estes Park, Colorado and help high risk addicts – such as those addicted to heroin or prescription pills – learn how to live life drug free.