On August 31st, people around the world will participate in International Overdose Awareness Day to raise awareness on the drug epidemic’s toll on society. This day is devoted to highlighting the gravity of the problem, helping to destigmatize the disease of addiction, and encouraging people to seek help in their struggle with addiction. International Overdose Awareness Day also provides an opportunity for people who have lost loved ones to mourn and share their stories of addiction.
According to the United Nations’ World Drug Report (2017), about 250 million people, 5 percent of the global adult population, used drugs at least once in 2015, of which 29.5 million people are estimated to suffer from substance abuse disorders. It was estimated there were 207,400 drug-related deaths (43.5 deaths per million people), of which between a third and half (69,000-104,000) were overdose deaths. In the United States, the current overdose death rate suggests nearly 60,000 people will die from drug overdose in 2017.
The statistics are especially staggering for the United States, as the country has about 6 percent of the world’s population but greater than 50 percent of the world’s overdose deaths. Raising awareness of impact of the disease of addiction will contribute to reducing the stigma associated with addiction and help individuals with substance use disorders recognize that they are fighting a disease and that there is help available.
As an addiction specialist and medical director of the Center for Network Therapy, I would like to share four unique ways for individuals to participate in International Overdose Awareness Day:
Make sure to wear silver, the official color of International Overdose Awareness Day, on August 31st to show your support for people suffering from substance abuse. For more information on substance abuse dependency, addiction and treatment please go to www.RecoveryCNT.com.