Global Rallies to Take Place on International Overdose Awareness Day

By Zachary Siegel 08/28/15

A day for communities to come together and mourn for loved one’s lost, while calling for action.

IOAD 2015
Photo via

While the opiate epidemic is garnering mass media coverage for the first time, the United States still sees 110 overdose deaths from legal and illegal drugs every day. With the right knowledge and practice, many of these fatal overdoses are preventable.

Monday, August 31, is International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD), where across the globe, rallies will take place calling attention to the often overlooked and tragic rate at which people are dying.

Overdose Awareness Day is a day of remembrance, to mourn in public for those lost, and for peaceful demonstrations that call for government action.

“We are fed up with a lack of federal funding for treatment beds, as well as the lack of training and funding for Narcan,” Sandra Chavez of FEDUP! wrote to The Fix.

With greater accessibility to the life-saving opiate reversal drug Narcan, commonly referred to as naloxone, the staggering rate of overdose fatality will decline. IOAD aims to bring this fact front and center, so knowledge of fatal overdose preventability spreads. 

The rallies will also bring up other issues related specifically to opiates, which occupy the largest category of overdoses. Addiction, opioid-related hospital visits, and mothers giving birth to infants born with neonatal abstinence syndrome, a condition associated with the mother’s opiate habit, will all be topics of discussion.

The grassroots coalition FEDUP! will be rallying from 11-1:30pm on the steps of California’s State Capitol, Chavez said. Many who will be in attendance have been directly affected by drug overdose. They have lost sons and daughters, brothers, and sisters.

Other rallies of this type will be taking place in cities big and small. In Chicago, there will be a gathering at The Federal Plaza, put on by community organizers and activists. Check out IOAD’s website to see if there is an event near you.

“We want to save lives and many of us have lost a son or daughter to this epidemic,” said Chavez.

Please read our comment policy. - The Fix

Zachary Siegel is a freelance journalist specializing in science, health and drug policy. His reporting has also appeared in Slate, The Daily Beast, Salon, Huffington Post, among others. He writes often about addiction, sometimes drawing from his own experience. You can find out more about Zachary on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter.