CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – Local communities in North Central West Virginia and around the world will come together on Thursday, Aug. 31, to remember those who have died or suffered permanent injury due to drug overdose.
Observed annually on Aug. 31, International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD) seeks to create a better understanding of overdose, reduce the stigma of drug-related deaths, and inspire change that reduces the harms associated with drug use.
Healthy Minds – Clarksburg and West Virginia Prevention Solutions will co-host a remembrance ceremony from 3 to 4 p.m. on Aug. 31, at the Veteran’s Memorial Park Freedom Shelter. A walk to honor those lost will immediately follow.
“We want to recognize people who are still suffering, those who have lost someone, and those who fight this epidemic daily,” Pam McDonald, supervisor for clinical grants at Healthy Minds – Clarksburg, said. “By coming together to remember them, we stand together to say that more needs to be done to end overdose in our community. We encourage members of the community with lived experience to come to our event and to stand in solidarity with those who have been personally affected by overdose.”
Global overdose rates have skyrocketed in the last 25 years. In 2020, an estimated 284 million people worldwide had used a drug in the past 12 months, a 26 percent increase from 2010. The situation is especially severe in the United States. In 2021, provisional data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated there were 107,622 drug overdose deaths, an increase of 15 percent from 2020.
IOAD was created by the Penington Institute, an Australian not-for-profit organization. This year, for the first time, it has announced a campaign theme: recognizing those who go unseen. This theme is intended to honor those whose lives have been altered by overdose, including the family and friends grieving the loss of a loved one; workers in healthcare and support services extending strength and compassion; or spontaneous first responders who selflessly assume the role of lifesaver.
A full list of the IOAD 2023 events can be found at: OverdoseDay.com/Events-2023