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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