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.
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, Twitter and Instagram 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:
- Instagram Post
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.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Opioid Overdose
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
National Institute on Drug Abuse
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
International Overdose Awareness Day Website (Overdose Basics, Fact Sheets, Downloadable Resources)
Article: Short Answers to Hard Questions About the Opioid Crisis (New York Times)
If you missed our Facebook Live broadcast of the panel presentation Critical Issue: A 50 State View of the Opioid Epidemic, you can watch a recording of it below. This discussion, which took place during the 2017 NFDA Leadership Conference, provided critical information and ideas for confronting this the opioid crisis from the funeral director's perspective.