What is Overdose Awareness Day?
August 31, 2022, is International Overdose Awareness Day, and we pause to honor those who have died from an overdose and to reflect on the grief of those they left behind. Many continue to live with the stigma associated with having a close family or friend die from an overdose.
Overdose is the leading cause of death for people ages 18 to 45 in America today. More than 100,000 people died of an overdose in the United States in the 12-month period ending in March 2022. For many, the observance might be the first and only time to share their grief without stigma. International Overdose Awareness Day brings attention to issues surrounding substance use disorders (SUDs) and overdose deaths and allows people to grieve as they choose without fear of stigmatization.
Overdose Awareness Events were on August 27, 2022
This year marked the 5th annual Overdose Awareness Day, a series of events in Northern Colorado. Last year a record 1,557 Coloradans lost their lives to overdose, a staggering 24.15% increase from previous years. These events brought together community resource organizations, speakers, Naloxone distribution and education, music, food, activities, and shared stories of recovery and remembrance.
Northern Colorado Overdose Awareness Day events were hosted by the Health District of Northern Larimer County, North Colorado Health Alliance (NCHA), and Colorado Opioid Synergy Larimer & Weld (CO-SLAW). SummitStone Health Partners , Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention and Unite Us were also sponsors. We had around 40 people in Estes Park, 300 in Fort Collins and 80 people in Greeley attend the event.
Preventing Overdose-Related Deaths
How Naloxone can save a life:
Naloxone is a life-saving medication that can reverse an overdose from opioids—including heroin, fentanyl, and prescription opioid medications—when given in time. Naloxone is easy to use and small to carry. There are two forms of naloxone that anyone can use without medical training or authorization: prefilled nasal spray and injectable.
Naloxone won’t harm someone if they’re overdosing on drugs other than opioids, so it’s always best to use it if you think someone is overdosing.
How fentanyl testing can save a life:
Fentanyl test strips can identify the presence of fentanyl in unregulated drugs. They can be used to test injectable drugs, powders, and pills. Being aware if fentanyl is present allows people to implement appropriate harm reduction strategies to reduce the risk of an overdose.
How can I access Naloxone and fentanyl testing strips?
Community members can pick up Naloxone/Fentanyl at Colorado State University’s Health Network on the third floor of the reception area, the Murphy Center vending machine through Homeward Alliance, Colorado Opioid Synergy Larimer & Weld (CO-SLAW), NOCO HRA and the North Colorado Health Alliance (NCHA).