International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD) is a global event held on August 31 each year and aims to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death. The IOAD movement began in Australia and has quickly become a worldwide movement. This day also acknowledges the grief felt by families and friends remembering those who have met with death or permanent injury as a result of a drug overdose.
IOAD matters more than ever in light of the opioid crisis that has touched so many communities. At the urging of a special commission, the White House declared the opioid crisis a “national emergency.”
“America is enduring a death toll equal to September 11th every three weeks,” the commission’s report noted, saying a state of emergency would “force Congress to focus on funding” ways to combat the growing epidemic. The opioid crisis, which now kills over 100 Americans a day, is also having a devastating effect on business: Companies across the country call it one of the biggest problems they face, particularly when it comes to hiring and retaining workers.
Educate Your Community
IOAD is the perfect opportunity to reach out to your community and raise awareness on this important issue. The risk of death due to overdose cuts across class, race, religion and age – it can impact anyone. Here are some ideas on how you can get involved.
Communities around the country will be hosting IOAD events. If there is an event already scheduled in your community, inquire about how you can get involved. If there isn’t an event being held in your community, you might consider planning one for August 31 or in the weeks to come. The IOAD website has helpful event tips and tools.
Submit a letter to the editor to your local newspaper. NFDA has prepared a letter to the editor template that you can customize for use in your community; download it here.
Place an advertisement in your local newspaper. NFDA will be creating advertisements to create awareness of the overdose crisis that you can place in your local newspapers.
There are two messages from which you can choose:
- Overdose can affect anyone
- Overdose death is preventable
Share information on social media. To help you create awareness among those who follow your funeral home on social media, NFDA will be creating graphics for Facebook and Twitter that you can share on August 31 and in the days and weeks leading up to IOAD. We will have these graphics available for download very soon!
When posting on social media, NFDA suggests using the following caption (please customize it as appropriate for your community!): Learn more about the prescription drug and heroin overdose epidemic. Visit https://www.hhs.gov/opioids today. #OverdoseAware2017
There are two messages to choose from:
Download Social Media Graphics Below:
Consider wearing purple or silver clothing or ribbons. Internationally, silver is the awareness color for overdose and its effects. Purple is the awareness color for opiate addiction. Wearing these colors can signify the loss of someone cherished and demonstrate support to those bearing a burden of grief. Consider wearing clothing or ribbons in one or both of these colors on IOAD.
The drug overdose and opioid crisis presents unique challenges for funeral directors, from working with families whose loved one has died from an overdose to protecting themselves from harm when handling the body of an overdose victim during removal or embalming.
Be prepared! Understand the epidemic so you can better serve your families and protect yourself. Visit our informational page at www.nfda.org/opioid.