International Overdose Awareness Day

International Overdose Awareness Day (Thursday 31 August) is held each year to help raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of drug-related death.  It also aims to acknowledge the grief felt by families and friends remembering those who have died as a result of drug overdose.  International Overdose Awareness Day spreads the message that overdose injury or death is preventable.

A report from the Pennington Institute, using data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, has highlighted the scale of drug overdose deaths in Australia. Between 2004 to 2014, the number of deaths due to drug overdose in Western Australia increased1.  Males aged 40-49 years, and those living in regional and remote Australia, are at greater risk of death from an overdose1.  Prescription medications, such as oxycodone and benzodiazepines, are now more commonly involved in drug-related deaths than illicit substances1.  Between 2008 and 2014, Australia saw an 87 per cent increase in prescription opioid deaths, with the greatest increase occurring in regional and remote Australia1.

With drug overdose on the rise in Western Australia it is more important than ever to get involved in International Overdose Awareness Day, raise awareness of overdose, and reduce stigma.

How can you get involved?

  • You can join the social media conversation on Twitter and Facebook. Be sure to use the hashtag #OverdoseAware2017
  • Raise awareness of the signs of overdose. Visit for more information.
  • Visit the International Overdose Awareness Day website and post a tribute to remember an individual who lost their life to an overdose.
  • Wear Silver- Silver is the official colour of International Overdose Awareness Day.
  • Attend an event and show your support for International Overdose Awareness Day. Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital (SCGH) will be collaborating with SCGH Alcohol and Drug Service, Western Australia Poisons Information Centre, Western Australia Clinical Toxicology Service and SCGH Self Harm and Crisis Counselling Service, to hold an Overdose Day Event at G Block Watling Walk.  The event will be providing education, resources and counselling information.



  1. Penington Institute 2016. Australia’s Annual Overdose Report 2016: A Penington Institute Report. Melbourne Australia.