International Overdose Awareness Day
International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD) is a global event held on August 31st each year and aims to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death. It also acknowledges the grief felt by families and friends remembering those who
have met with death or permanent injury as a result of drug overdose.
What is an overdose?
Overdoses usually occur accidentally when someone takes more of an opioid dose than their body can handle. As a result the brain is not able to control basic life functions.
This can happen if someone:
- Has just started using an opioid drug
- Resumes taking an opioid drug after a period of not taking one for a while
- Switches from one opioid drug to another
- Takes more than their usual opioid dose
- Takes more than one drug at the same time
- Develops an illness when taking opioid drugs.
When an opioid overdose occurs, breathing becomes slower and shallower, and in more serious overdoses, stops completely. This may result in loss of consciousness, brain damage and death.