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#IOAD23 : Recognising those people who go unseen

International Overdose Awareness Day is the world’s largest annual campaign striving to

stop drug-related overdose and the stigma that prevents people who need treatment and

support from getting help. Taking place annually on 31 August, it is a remembrance of those

who have lost their lives to drug overdose, and an acknowledgement of the experience of

the family and friends left behind.

This year’s theme is ‘Recognising those people who go unseen’, which encourages us all to focus on “acknowledging people in our communities who are affected by overdose but might go unseen in the crisis”.

Addiction can touch and affect anyone, and it is more hidden in some places than others.

Sadly, stigma is all too often at the root of this concealment. But anyone who experiences addiction deserves equal access to services, and they should be able to ask for and access these services without fear of prejudice.

What can you do to support International Overdose Awareness Day?

  • Follow Overdose Day on Twitter (@OverdoseDay), Facebook (International Overdose Awareness Day) and Instagram (@overdoseawarenessday). Post on your own channels about International Overdose Awareness Day using the hashtags #IOAD2023 #EndOverdose #OverdoseAware

  • We are all likely to know someone who has felt stigmatised because of their addiction or the addiction of someone close to them. See our Stigma Kills Campaign to find out more and use the hashtags #WeAllKnowSomeone and #SeeThePersonHearTheirStory to encourage conversations about breaking down stigma.

  • Our Stigma Kills website also features advice on how individuals can contribute to ending the stigma against addiction, including guidance on language, case stories, and downloadable resources to show your support.

  • If you’ve lost a friend or relative to an overdose, you can post a tribute on the Overdose Day website.

  • Read and share our guide on what to do if someone overdoses.

This year’s NHS APA annual conference focuses on “Living the Stigma: Understanding

Addiction and Overcoming Prejudice”. It is a free event taking place online on the 28th of November 2023. Get tickets.



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