The International Overdose Awareness Day, originated in Melbourne, Australia in 2001, has grown into a global campaign aimed to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death. It is also an opportunity to stimulate discussion about evidence-based overdose prevention and drug policy.
The campaign in2019 was the most successful yet. Their 2019 IOAD Partners’ Report shows that 874 events were organised in 39 participating countries worldwide. This is a new record, surpassing the previous high of 747 set last year. This year’s campaign brought more than 273,000 visitors to the IOAD website. Visitors to the website downloaded our online resources – posters, fact sheets, and event support kits – more than 20,000 times.
We have promoted the campaign in our news and reported about the press release we published and the activities during the IOA day held in Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania and Slovenia. Unfortunately, only those from Montenegro and Slovenia were mentioned in the report.
On the occasion of the International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD), DPNSEE issued a press release underlining the importance of awareness and fighting stigma on overdose and presenting data about the issue worldwide and especially in Serbia. The release was published by the national Press agency Tanjug and several other media and portals.
In Montenegro, NGO Juventas also issued a press release (supported by the NGO 4 Life) and held a press conference where Marija Mijović, coordinator of Programme of direct assistance to the people in risk of social exclusion presented situation in the country. A movie “Overdose”, directed by Mladen Vujović, outreach worker at the Drop-in Centre of NGO Juventas, Montenegro in cooperation with the Hungarian Drug reporters, was screened at the Green Montenegro International Film Festval.
Our colleagues from the Romanian Harm Reduction Network created a special video for this year’s IOAD campaign. Have a look at “Voices of the drug users. Episode 1”
Association AREAL and AREALTRIBE group from Slovenia organized a workshop dedicated to the International overdose awareness day on 1 September 2019 in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Participants were educated how to respond if an individual finds himself or herself in that position.
Thousands of people die each year from drug overdose and the fact is, overdose is an increasing global problem. Spreading the message that the tragedy of overdose and injury is preventable, International Overdose Awareness Day raise awareness of overdose and reduces the stigma associated with the drug-related death. Also, the day of awareness is providing support to families and loved ones of overdose victims, so that no one is forgotten.
Globally, there is an estimated minimum of 190,900 premature deaths caused by drugs (range: 115,900 to 230,100). It is estimated that there were more than 70,000 deaths caused by to drug overdose in European Union countries in the first decade of the 21st Century. Opioids account for the majority of drug-related deaths and in most cases such deaths are avoidable.
Local communities around the world are coming together every year at the end of August to remember those who have died or suffered permanent injury due to drug overdose.
Observed on the 31st of August every year, International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD) seeks to create better understanding of overdose, reduce the stigma of drug-related deaths, and create change that reduces the harms associated with drug use.
People and communities came together to raise awareness of one of the world’s most urgent public health crises – one that, unfortunately, is only getting worse.
In 2018, there were 747 IOAD events of all kinds, held in 38 countries.
Since 2001 31st September has been marked around the World as the International Overdose Awareness Day in order to raise public awareness of the most risky outcome of the use of psychoactive substances and gave the meaning to deceased overdoses. Serbia was on the world map of countries that marked this day in 2017 under the slogan “Memory Recollection, Time for Action”.
Overdoses with the deadly outcome due to the use of drugs, alcohol and uncontrolled use of medicines are on the rise, especially among young people. Drug users, one of the most marginalized groups in our society, do not have to be condemned to death by overdosing.
In the city of Pančevo, organisation Nova+ organised street action, to join the world network of cities where this day is marked by burning candles for the deceased and sharing information and educational materials regarding prevention of overdose and also to raise awareness of this problem in the society.
The marking of the day continued in with the open talk in the Apollo Hall, where professionals were discussing the problematizing this this issue in relation to Serbia through an open talk. Invited speakers were Nenad Živković writer and journalist, moderator, Osmah Hamzagić representing the Public Health Institute Pančevo, Aleksandar Žugić from NGO Izlazak, Irena Molnar in the name of the Drug Policy Network South East Europe and host Branislav Princip from Nova+ organisation.
Conclusion of almost two hours of talk was as expected: society has a problem with overdoses – Serbia is not excluded. The first step in preventing overdose has to be raising awareness of the issue and recognising it as a public health problem that has social consequences. Recognition of symptoms, proper treatment in this case and the latest pharmacological preparations for the prevention of fatal outcome, which are recommended around the world, should become common practice in Serbia too.