International Overdose Awareness Day is the world’s largest annual campaign to end overdose and raise awareness for substance use supports.
The campaign takes place annually on August 31st, and raises awareness of overdose, stimulates action and discussion about evidence-based overdose prevention and drug policy, and acknowledges families and friends who have lost loved ones from a drug overdose.
Why is this important to YWHO?
A lack of appropriate substance use services for young people was one of the main challenges that Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario was established to address. Since then, YWHO has expanded to provide services to youth between 12 and 25 years old and their families in over 22 communities in Ontario. This annual awareness campaign highlights the continued need for support that works for those affected.
What are the goals of IOAD?
Some of the goals of International Overdose Awareness Day are:
- To inform people around the world about the risk of overdose.
- To give community members information about the issue of fatal and non-fatal overdose.
- To send a strong message to current and former people who use drugs that they are valued.
- To stimulate discussion about overdose prevention and drug policy.
- To provide basic information on the range of support services that are available.
- To prevent and reduce drug-related harm by supporting evidence-based policy and practice.
What is an overdose?
Overdoses usually occur accidentally when someone takes more of a substance than their body can handle. This can happen if someone:
- Has just started using a substance
- Resumes taking an substance after a period of not taking one for a while
- Switches from one substance to another
- Takes more than their usual dose
- Takes more than one substance at the same time
In Ontario, some 8% of opioid-related deaths are among youth under the age of 25.*
Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario is here to provide walk-in, low-barrier and free substance use support to young people in need of help. All across the province, the Youth Wellness Teams are opening their doors to ensure youth get all the support they need in a one-stop shop. For example: if a young person is looking for substance use support and primary health care, they are able to seek this help under one roof.
This system is designed in collaboration with youth to ensure we meet their needs.
We can change the stats.
“Together, we can work to create a safer stigma-free world to bring awareness to overdoses and the tragedy that follows behind for the family and friends of those we lose. If we educate ourselves and those around us about addiction and the ways we can help those in need, we can help prevent another overdose from happening.” – Sarah Haaima, Opioid Case Manager and Hub Manager, Renfrew County Youth Wellness Hub
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*Source: Hawke et al. 2022