August 31, 2021
August 31st was International Overdose Awareness Day. It is a global event held each year that aims to raise awareness of drug overdoses, reduce the stigma of drug-related deaths and spread the message that the tragedy of overdose death is preventable. It is a day that commemorates the death of a loved-one.
In December 2020, a report distributed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention’s Health Alert Network reported drug overdose deaths were at a record high, and that there had been an acceleration in the increase in drug overdose deaths with the strongest increase from March 2020 to May 2020. In this report, data from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics reported over 81,000 drug overdose deaths in the U.S. over a 12-month period, ending in May 2020.
When approached with the opportunity to receive money and asked what she would do with it, Sally Jane Finn said she would use the money to acknowledge people’s grief for loved ones lost to drug overdoses. She would provide a moment for families and friends to reflect on the people who had gone from their lives and the pain that had been left. That money was used to purchase ribbons and pins and the first event, which was held in a backyard. That first year, they handed out 6,000 ribbons. Listen to Sally’s story of how International Overdose Awareness Day was founded in 2001 with only $750.00. In recognition of International Overdose Awareness Day, supporters wear the color purple (opioid addiction and dependence awareness color) or silver/grey (international overdose awareness color) to show their support of this widespread endeavor.
The National Center for State Courts, along with the National Judicial Opioid Task Force (NJOTF), created a Resource Center that highlights a broad array of content and materials. On November 20, 2019, after a multi-year investigation, the NJOTF released findings, recommendations and solutions on the role of state courts in addressing the crisis of addiction. The NJOTF was formed in 2017 by the Conference of Chief Justices and Conference of State Court Administrators.
For more information, contact Knowledge@ncsc.org or call 800-616-6164.