In recognition of the International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD) campaign, celebrated every year on 31 August, Release staff have come together to honour the memory of all those that we have lost to drug overdoses, and that do not have the conditions to seek the help they require.
Drug overdoses are one of the most tragic outcomes of drug prohibition, brought about by an adulterated drug supply, or lack of access to life-saving medicine like overdose-reversing naloxone.
In the UK, drug deaths have spiralled out of control. Although media has focused particularly in Scotland, where three people suffer a drug-related death every day, the situation in England and Wales has not fared any better. Areas like Middlesbrough in the North-East, and Blackpool in the North-West have suffered considerably, with a mortality rate of 16.9 and 22.1 people per 100,000, respectively. Its widespread impact demonstrates that this public health crisis is not a regional issue, but one of national concern.
While virtually every medical association and professional body have repeatedly called for the implementation of a public health approach to drug use, British policymakers have ignored available evidence, pursuing instead legislation that has increased the stigma that people who use drugs face in health services and across society.
IOAD is a day of remembrance to mourn those that we have all directly or indirectly lost to drug-related harms, and to raise awareness on why immediate change is needed now, in order to prevent the unnecessary loss of more lives. This is a public health crisis that unfortunately is only getting increasingly worse.
What can you do to support the IOAD campaign?
If you want to share simple yet strong messages for social media dissemination, you can find the resources we recommend from the Penington Institute here:
A wider list of resources regarding IOAD are available here.
What is the UK Overdose Awareness & Naloxone Campaign, and how can I participate?
Resources specifically relating to the UK Overdose Awareness & Naloxone Campaign are available to download here. We recommend printing these posters, or holding them on a tablet and taking a picture to share your story or perspective on how you or a loved one have been impacted by overdoses.
Read the full blog post here.
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