Time To Remember Time To Act
August 31st is International Overdose Awareness Day.
International Overdose Awareness Day is a global event held on 31 August each year and aims to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death. It also acknowledges the grief felt by families and friends remembering those who have died or had a permanent injury as a result of drug overdose.
International Overdose Awareness Day spreads the message that the tragedy of overdose death is preventable.
Thousands of people die each year from drug overdose. They come from all walks of life.
Do you recognise the signs and symptoms of overdose? What is the impact of drug use and overdose on family, friends and those experiencing it?
These videos include people affected by the impact of drugs use and overdose who share some of their stories.
Australia’s Alcohol and Drug Foundation have a comprehensive site set up for IOAD. There’s helpful information here such as Signs and Symptoms of an Overdose, Harm Minimisation, How to Help in an Emergency, along with references and resources.
This morning on ABC Melbourne Jon Faine ran a great interview. The info’ paragraphs run as follows;
Cherie Short’s son Aaron died of a drug overdose in 2015. She tells Jon Faine we need to change drug policy and “make humane decisions” to stop others from dying.
“This tragedy is preventable, I believe overdose is preventable,” she said.
Ms Short is joined by Kayla Caccaviello, who dated Aaron and has overcome her own addiction to drugs to become a drug and alcohol counsellor.
The interview is titled “Humane drug policy could have saved my son”: Mum
You can download the 8 minute mp3 file here.
Activities for this year globally and across every state in Australia can be accessed on this page. Fortunately Australia is second from the top and easy to access. But of course please use the drop down menu for fast access to the area of your choice. Australia has 79 activities with 48 in Victoria, 11 in NSW, 7 in WA, 4 in QLD and TAS, 3 in NT and 2 in ACT.
Activities are varied ranging from O.D. prevention training, to art display, to group naloxone (opioid antidote) training, to afternoon tea – followed by naloxone training and a free kit, remembrance events to de-stigmatise overdose, etc.
Australia has only two supervised injecting centres. One, the MSIC in Kings Cross Sydney opened in May 2001 and after more than 11 years of successful trial moved to permanent basis. The MSIC in Richmond, Melbourne commenced on a trial basis at the beginning of 2018. Whilst it is running successfully and saving lives daily the entire concept is a punching bag for conservative politicians.
Regrettably whilst it is easy to manufacture the illusion of government funded drug induced harm and negative community appearances the peer reviewed evidence, globally, supports the health benefits of Safe Injecting Facilities. Always be aware of the myth of a Drug Free Australia.
This notion is pushed on the back of pseudoscience, the rejection of peer reviewed evidence and moral panic. You can read up on the antics of Drug Free Australia Ltd via their tag here.
Evidence backed themes that are often presented on IOAD support the fact that prohibition and the “war on drugs” waste money, ruin and cost lives. Harm minimisation practices such as harm reduction approaches like needle exchange and injecting facilities, prevent overdose, the spread of blood borne diseases and community dysfunction.
Evidence supports harm minimisation and particularly harm reduction.
Prescription Drug Overdose
One area to receive increasing attention again this year is that of prescription opioids. According to this ABC article OD fatalities have risen almost 40% in the last decade.
A constant concern for those who need adequate pain management via prescription, is that the “war on drugs” mentality may permeate policy modification under the belief it is a sensible solution. Once again the political conservative gravitates to this mode of moral dictation.
Overseas activity suggests that those who are denied prescription medication for prolonged pain management may find their way to illicit opioid abuse and inherit all the problems of crime, disease, socioeconomic stress and violence that come with such abuse.
We must yet again be careful that in managing this emerging problem we do not allow the denial of rights and an ignorance of incumbent facts such that we see punishment and manipulation of those in need.