International Overdose Awareness Day raises awareness of drug-related death
International Overdose Awareness Day is August 31. This awareness day began in Australia in 2001, but today it is a global campaign. Organizers hope to “…raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of drug-related death.”1 The coordinators also want to educate the public about prevention, drug policy and the grief that families experience due to drug overdose. Kolmac Outpatient Recovery Centers also shares these goals.
The organizers emphasize education
The founders of International Overdose Awareness Day want the public to know that drug overdoses are preventable. It helps to understand what can happen when someone takes a drug or a combination of substances in excess amounts.
• Depressants and opioids include heroin, fentanyl, prescription opioids and benzodiazepines like Valium and Xanax. Excessive dosages lead to depressed breathing and heart rate. Death can occur without immediate care.
• Stimulants include drugs like speed and ice. A stimulant overdose can cause heart attacks, seizures, strokes, drug-induced psychotic episodes and death.
• The founders of International Overdose Awareness Day also address alcohol because excessive amounts of alcohol can lead to alcohol poisoning. In extreme cases, it can stop breathing, stop the heart and cause people to choke on their own vomit (aspirate).
The public needs to be aware of what to do if they witness a drug overdose
A drug overdose is a serious situation and people should not hesitate to call 911 or seek medical help when a person appears unresponsive. In addition, education and access to Naloxone can be crucial in preventing opioid overdose deaths.
The following symptoms require immediate medical assistance.
• Chest pain
• Difficulty breathing
• Snoring or gurgling breathing
• Confusion, agitation or paranoia
• Severe headache
Kolmac practices evidence-based drug treatment
One of the goals of International Overdose Awareness Day is “…to prevent and reduce drug-related harm by supporting evidence-based policy and practice.”2 Kolmac works toward this goal every day, offering an evidence-based program for addiction recovery. Contact us.