Each year on August 31st, International Overdose Awareness Day is held as a global event to raise awareness of drug overdose and reduce the stigma of drug-related deaths. This day also calls attention to the pain felt by family and friends who have dealt with overdose and commemorates loved ones lost as a result of a drug overdose.
People all over the world are encouraged on this day to take a moment and learn about overdoses and what can be done to prevent them.
Drug overdose deaths in the United States have certainly hit home. President Trump’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis released a report in July 2017 stating drug overdoses now kill more people than gun homicides and car crashes combined. As such, America is enduring a death toll equal to September 11th every three weeks.
Sadly, between 1999 and 2015, more than 560,000 people in this country died due to drug overdoses, a death toll larger than the entire population of Atlanta. Globally, the 2017 World Drug Report notes premature deaths from drugs, the majority of which are attributable to the use of opioids, are in most cases avoidable.
Drug overdose (having too much of a drug, or combination of drugs, for your body to be able to cope with) can have a number of signs and symptoms and can differ with the type of drug used. Some signs of overdose can include breathing that is very slow or has stopped, blue or purple lips, the person is unable to speak, can’t be woken up, or heartbeat is very slow or stopped. If you think someone is overdosing they should not be left alone and emergency assistance should be requested immediately.
The links below are valuable resources that aid in the fight against opioid addiction:
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
- SAMHSA Opioid Overdose Prevention Toolkit
- Providers’ Clinical Support System for Medication Assisted Treatment
- Providers’ Clinical Support System for Opioid Therapies
- Patient Pain Resource for Injured Workers
We at IWP strive to bring awareness to the issue of drug-related overdoses and recognize that the identification, prevention and resolution of potential drug-related problems is an ongoing effort that we are committed to. We join many others in an effort to bring awareness to this important issue and support actions to prevent overdose.
For more information on International Overdose Awareness Day, where you can attend a local event or to post a tribute, please visit www.overdoseday.com or download their app. To learn more about what IWP has done to combat the opioid epidemic and how we provide medication management to injured workers across the nation, subscribe to our blog for daily updates.