International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD) began in Australia but is now a global event held each year on August 31. It is a day to acknowledge the tremendous grief experienced by loved ones of those who have experienced drug overdose, whether fatal or nonfatal.

This day is more significant than it ever has been due to the opioid crisis that has pummeled so many typical American communities. Over 100 Americans die from drug overdose every day, destroying families, businesses, and entire communities. It is becoming increasingly difficult to find anyone who has not been directly or indirectly affected by the problem of opiate addiction in America.

Drug addiction treatment works, and many people are alive today because of going through treatment for their substance abuse disorder. Here are five things you can do on International Overdose Awareness Day to raise awareness of the devastating effects overdoses have on ordinary communities like yours.

1. Attend a Local Event

Events, including candlelight vigils, balloon releases, rallies, and community outreach programs are taking place all over the world, including many places in the US. Some events are simple, while others include many activities. What they all have in common is their desire to bring awareness of all those who suffer due to the tragedy of drug overdose and addiction. Drug addiction treatment works, and although it will take hard work, society can help turn the tide in favor of health and sobriety.

2. Plan a Local Event

If you live in a small town or other community that does not already have an event planned for IOAD, you could hold your own event. Ideas include memorial services, planting a tree, hosting a speaker, setting up an education campaign, or simply holding a candlelight vigil. Local media is often eager to cover such events, and even without them, it is easy to livestream events to social media. Sometimes even small, humble events have the power to change people’s perspective.

3. Write a Letter to the Editor

This has been a tried and true method of drawing attention to important community topics as long as newspapers have existed. They may mostly be online now, but that actually increases the potential of your words reaching more people. If you are not sure what to write, you can download letter templates that can be customized to your own community and voice; you can reach the managing editor, Rebecca Greiner, of The Recovery Village by email here.

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4. Share Helpful Information on Social Media

International Overdose Awareness Day suggests using the hashtag #EndOverdose on social media to build momentum for August 31. Community organizations and nonprofits dedicated to promotion of drug addiction treatment can host Twitter chats, asking followers to share their thoughts and ideas. Following @overdoseday along with using the hashtag will help spread the word of Twitter events further. Many downloadable social media graphics are also available for use on Facebook and Twitter.

5. Show Solidarity by Wearing Purple and Silver

Purple and silver are the colors adopted by IOAD. Specifically, silver is the awareness color for drug overdose, while purple is the awareness color for opioid addiction. Wearing clothing or ribbons in these colors not only signifies the effects of substance abuse disorders and overdoses, but can help spark conversation about the topic. You can prepare yourself with statistics and information so that you can help educate people one-on-one as the opportunity arises.

Drug addiction treatment requires commitment and work, but it gets positive results and helps people in the throes of opioid and other addictions turn the tide and successfully pursue recovery. If you are struggling with a substance abuse disorder or have questions about addiction, overdose, or drug addiction treatment, we encourage you to contact us today.