International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD) on August 31, 2020, is a chance to raise awareness of overdose, remember those we have lost, acknowledge the grief of those left behind, call for change, and end the stigma of drug use and addiction.

IOAD is a global event in its 20th year. Founded in 2001 in Melbourne, Australia, IOAD has expanded its reach dramatically over time. In 2019, A total of 874 events were held in 39 countries around the world, up from 747 in 2018. is a robust resource for free downloadable resources. Find posters, flyers, social media graphics, t-shirt templates, and more.

Host an Event or Activity

IOAD gets the message out through local events. Events commemorate loved ones, educate the community, reduce stigma, and call for change to save lives around the world. Here are some ideas for hosting an event or activity in your community. Most can even be held online!

  • Host a vigil or memorial
  • Invite guest speakers
  • Hold a rally
  • Light a monument or civic building
  • Call on local officials to formally acknowledge IOAD
  • Create a tribute wall
  • Mark a tree with a ribbon of remembrance
  • Provide education and Naloxone training

Download Event and Activities Organizer’s Support Kit for all you need to get started hosting your own event or activity!

There are many ways to support International Overdose Awareness Day this year. Post a tribute for a loved one lost or purchase a badge, wristband, or lanyard to show your support for the cause.

Event Outcomes

The IOAD Partner’s Report 2019 includes the survey results of those who held an event or activity. Hosts were asked about their events and their experiences. Key findings include:

  • Knowledge about the IOAD community: our movement is made up of people who use drugs, loved ones of people who have been affected by drugs, harm reduction and health workers, advocates, and activists. Often, these communities overlap.
  • Motivations: raising awareness of overdose, reducing stigma, and commemoration or memorial of those we’ve lost were the most popular responses.
  • Events: almost 95 percent of respondents had held an IOAD event before. Close to two-thirds of respondents said their event was attended by the general public, while 80 percent said their event was attended by family and friends of people affected by overdose, and health or community workers.
  • Satisfaction: 95 percent of respondents believed their event was successful or very successful, while 96 percent were satisfied or very satisfied with the resources on offer.
  • Media coverage: 75 percent of respondents said their event received media coverage, and the campaign overall generated 2,550 news stories.
  • Outputs and Outcomes: increased awareness, naloxone training, the creation of shareable resources, Mayoral Proclamations, and politicians promising to do more to end overdose. (From the Executive Summary of The IOAD Partner’s Report 2019.)

Help end overdose today!

Promote International Overdose Awareness Day in your community and online!

IOAD is August 31, 2020 and is the 20th anniversary of International Overdose Awareness Day.

Example of Social Media post available on

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Dr. Jessica Rodriguez

Dr. Rodriguez was named the Executive Director of Gateway Corp in 2012.  Gateway Corp was developed as a non-profit, public charity and founded October 27, 2011. November 2014, she developed a clinical hub for Gateway Corp called OnSite Strategies. OnSite is also a United States Trademark.

She has held the position of CEO, Clinical Director, Lead Educator and Clinical Trainer as well as the Clinical Business Developer. She has fulfilled the roles of a clinical consultant, professional development consultant and has clinically supervised many SUD/addiction counselors, mental health professionals and addiction and family interventionists for over 12 years.

She has been active in the mental health field since 1995. She has also clinically trained throughout the US and provides clinical oversight for several organizations in California.

Dr. Rodriguez released her first book, “When the Rainbow Ends a Shadow from Heaven Appears” in 2017.” Her newest book, “The Cart, From Adversity to Collateral Beauty” is scheduled to be released in the Fall of 2022.

Dr. Rodriguez is currently a writer for Rapporteur Magazine. Her focus is about Mental Wellness also covered topics to include ACE’s, trauma, anxiety, and Systemic Racism.

Adriana Popescu, Ph.D.

Dr. Adriana Popescu is a licensed clinical psychologist and empowerment coach with over 25 years of experience in the mental health field. She specializes in treating addictions and trauma, and has directed a number of treatment programs in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is the Founder and CEO of Firebird Healing, a trauma healing program, and the Clinical Director at Avery Lane, an innovative and holistic treatment program for women with co-occurring addiction and mental health disorders and trauma.

Adriana has contributed to a number of books, including TJ Woodward’s Conscious Being Workbook, the Conscious Recovery for Addiction and Conscious Recovery for Mental Health Workbooks, and the Conscious Creation Workbook, all of which she co-authored with him.

She has a private practice in San Francisco and travels around the world speaking, coaching, and facilitating transformational and empowering workshops. She also hosts a fascinating podcast called Kaleidoscope of Possibilities – Alternative Perspectives on Mental Health.

Adriana loves to bring the most innovative and effective tools to her work, empowering people to overcome their imagined limitations, release their self-judgments, and discover the brilliance within – creating a life of infinite possibilities.

Her first book, “What If You’re Not as F*cked Up As You Think”, was released in October.

Aven Armstrong-Sutton, Ph.D(c), RSW

Clinical Services Manager at Kinark Child and Family Services

Aven L. Armstrong-Sutton has been a practicing licensed social worker for over a decade. With diverse experience in settings such as health promotion, foster care, youth homelessness, outpatient mental health & addictions, and student support services, Aven currently serves as a Clinical Services Manager at Kinark Child and Family Services, managing a Live-In-Treatment Program and three outpatient treatment programs. Maintaining a part-time private practice, Aven’s multidisciplinary and integrative approach focuses on trauma and resilience among under-served communities.

June Price Tangney, Ph.D

Dr. Tangney received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from UCLA. She is currently University Professor and Professor of Psychology at George Mason. She is a Recipient of International Society for Self and Identity’s Distinguished Lifetime Career Award and Fellow of the Association of Psychological Science and of APA’s Division of Personality and Social Psychology.

Dr. Tangney is coauthor (with Ronda Dearing) of Shame and Guilt, coeditor (with Ronda Dearing) of Shame in the Therapy Hour, coeditor (with Jess Tracy and Richard Robins) of The self-conscious emotions: Theory and research, and coeditor (with Mark Leary) of the Handbook of Self and Identity. She has served as Associate Editor for Self and Identity, Consulting Editor for Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Psychological Assessment, Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, and Journal of Personality, and is currently Associate Editor of American Psychologist.

Her research on the development and implications of moral emotions has been funded by NIDA, NICHD, NSF, and the John Templeton Foundation. Currently, her work focuses on moral emotions among incarcerated offenders. She draws on theory and research in psychology and criminology to develop novel interventions that leverage inmates’ moral emotions and prosocial values. A recipient of GMU’s Teaching Excellence Award, Dr. Tangney strives to integrate service, teaching and clinically-relevant research in both the classroom and her lab.

Christina Veselak, MS, LMFT, CN

Founder and Director of the Academy for Addiction and Mental Health Nutrition

Christina T. Veselak, MS, LMFT, CN, is the founder and director of the Academy for Addiction and Mental Health Nutrition, which teaches practitioners around the world how to use diet, along with amino acid and nutrient therapy, to help prevent cravings and recurrent drug use. She has been a licensed psychotherapist working in the SUD treatment field since 1985 and a certified nutritionist specializing in mental health and addiction recovery since 1993.

Sean Bezdek, LMFT, MBA

Sean is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with over 25 years of experience working in mental health and substance abuse settings, in inpatient, PHP, and private practice. He holds b a master’s degree in Marital and Family Therapy from Philips Institute and an MBA from Baker College.

Sean’s clinical practice has specialized in working with Personality Disorders, Couples, Adolescents, and individual suffering from chronic mental illness. As a clinician Sean enjoys working with clients who can be resistant to traditional treatment and believes in the philosophy of “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink. BUT you can feed them saltines to make them thirsty!”

Sean is the Program Director for Akua Mind Body’s Sacramento inpatient mental health program. His prior leadership experience includes oversight of acute inpatient, utilization management, hospice/palliative care, home health and skilled nursing. Sean’s approach to management is to ensure the work that needs to get done gets done. “Our job is patient care. This include everything from making coffee to running groups. There is not one person who is more important that the other when it comes to providing exceptional care to the clients we serve.”