Overdose Day Awareness Statement

Today, August 31st, is International Overdose Awareness Day. This is a day of mourning and remembrance for those lost fatal overdoses as well as a day to raise awareness around the policies and conditions that contribute to this growing number of deaths. We are not in the midst of an “opioid” or “overdose” crisis. What we are experiencing is a toxic drug supply crisis that is exacerbated by policy that criminalizes those who use substances and restricts access to harm-reduction services.

It is important to remember that substances like opioids are valuable medicines that can be used safely with the proper harm-reduction strategies. These substances are used by many people but are often used as a coping strategy by those experiencing structural inequities. The War on Drugs has always been rooted in classism, anti-Black, anti-Indigenous, and anti-Asian racism. Our government is directly complicit in perpetuating these systems by continuing to criminalize drugs and spending enormous amounts on the policing of BIPOC communities

This Overdose Awareness Day, remember to:

  • Advocate for the decriminalization of personal possession of all substances
  • Demand the implementation of a holistic safe supply program for all substances
  • Engage in overdose prevention by testing your substances for potent additives
  • Educate yourself on the signs of overdose and carry naloxone (NARCAN) to adequately respond to overdoses caused by contaminated substances 
  • Learn where your elected officials stand on harm reduction policy, elect new representatives that support holistic substance strategies and hold them accountable to their campaign promises