Remembering the lives and loved ones of those impacted by the disease of addiction.

Each year, International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD), is held on August 31. It is a global event to raise awareness that overdose death is preventable, reduce the stigma associated with drug-related death and provide support to families of overdose victims. The day is set aside to acknowledge the grief felt by families and friends remembering those who have died or had a permanent injury as a result of drug overdose.

It is also a day of hope, in recognition of the tens of thousands of lives that have been saved from overdose, and serves as a call to further action to end the overdose crisis. Promoting the day helps to spread the message that addiction is a disease, and that with help and awareness, lives can be saved.



International Overdose Awareness Day is a time to remember and a time to act. Another goal of the day is to spread information about how to detect signs of substance abuse and overdose, and what to do when encountering a person who may be having an adverse reaction to a drug. Disorientation, agitation, difficulty breathing and vomiting can all be signs of overdose and should not be ignored.

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. There is an international campaign to turn buildings around the world purple on August 31. Special outreach in the United States includes a campaign to light buildings and bridges purple in every state and asking states to lower flags over government buildings to half-mast.



IOAD at St. Christopher’s Inn

On August 31, 2021, the Friars will celebrate a special Mass for Overdose Awareness Day in the private chapel at St. Christopher’s Inn, the Friars’ addiction treatment ministry, to celebrate those who are on the path to recovery and remembering the men and women and family members whose lives have been touched by addiction.

On August 31, St. Christopher’s Inn will offer a special virtual training for those interested in learning how to administer Narcan to someone who has overdosed. Narcan, which is the brand name for the drug, Naloxone, blocks the opioid receptors in the brain, and can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. It has been available for almost 50 years as an antidote but has taken on an increased role in saving lives as the opioid epidemic has continued to grow. The American Medical Association endorses the training of lay people in the use of Narcan to prevent overdoses. Every state has enacted laws to increase naloxone availability and partnered with various providers to make Narcan kits/training available to community members. Learn more about the Virtual Narcan Training on August 31, 2021 here.

IOAD has also launched is a special International Overdose Tribute Instagram page, a digital memorial for lost loved ones.

Learn more about International Overdose Awareness Day at