A quick video from our Executive Director, Amy Ronshausen.

According to the most recent estimates, 585,000 people died as a result of drug use in 2017. International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD) provides an opportunity for us to raise awareness, reduce the stigma, and acknowledge the grief families and friends go through remembering those who either died or received a permanent injury as a result of a drug overdose. Drug Free America Foundation is supporting IOAD by collaborating with global partners to highlight different themes over 8 days.

Remember, addiction does not discriminate; it does not see color, gender, or status. It is a disease that affects a person’s brain and behavior and the devastating impacts are felt by family and friends; we know this as our own staff have lost family members to this disease.

Please check out the below spotlights to find various videos and resources relevant to the daily theme.

Monday Spotlight: Prescription Drug Awareness

Did you know, that each day 2,500 American children abuse a prescription drug for the first time and surveys find that most people who misuse prescriptions receive them from a friend or relative? The misuse of pharmaceuticals is increasing globally, creating challenges at the local, national, and global levels. Today, we have partnered with Deterra and Orthopedic Surgeon, Dr. Greg Colbath, to help raise awareness and prevent prescription misuse, abuse, and prescription diversion. We all can play a role at preventing prescription diversion so please take a moment and watch the following short videos and check out what you can do right now to help save a life:
  • Secure all medications, properly dispose unused medications immediately, and do not share any prescription medications.
  • Find an authorized public drug disposal location near you.
  • Visit the following links to find out information on Deterra, the environmentally safe and easy to use at home medication disposal bags: Products  NIDA Report
  • Mark October 24th on your calendar for DEA’s Prescription Take Back Day


Tuesday Spotlight: Grief

One goal of International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD) is to acknowledge the grief families, friends, and communities feel remembering those who have either died or received a permanent injury as a result of drug overdose. Today, we partner with NOPE Hillsborough and Journey to Healing Hearts to honor the lives lost from a drug overdose and provide support to those who are grieving and to those who are struggling with a substance use disorder.

Journey to Healing Hearts
Have you lost a loved one to a drug overdose? Connect with this grief support group virtually every second Saturday of each month from 12 PM to 2 PM EST. Learn more.
  • NOPE Student Presentation: Access NOPE’s emotional and high impact presentation given to middle and high school students on the consequences of drug consumption.
  • Resources for families coping with substance use and mental health disorders.
  • Helpful articles on grief.
  • Commemorate a loved one by posting a tribute online.
  • Ideas on how to honor and remember someone who has passed away
Wednesday Spotlight: Stigma
Today, we partner with Fourth Wave Foundation, Project VENDA, and STAND to reduce stigma. Stigma can act as a barrier by hindering people with drug use disorders from accessing treatment, health, and social services. Stigma is the disapproval of, or discrimination against, a person based on perceivable social characteristics that serve to distinguish them from other members of a society. Understanding that addiction is a complex brain disorder requiring proper treatment just like with any other disease can help eliminate the false notion that addiction results from a moral failing or having a flawed character. Stigma affects certain populations differently and may be worsened by gender, socioeconomic status, or association with the criminal justice system. We can help combat stigma by learning about addiction, use non-stigmatizing language, and showing compassion and dignity to people with drug use disorders.


Thursday Spotlight: Overdose Prevention

At our annual Prevention Summit, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams declared that carrying naloxone is as important, if not more, than knowing CPR, as you are more likely to encounter a situation where naloxone is needed. According to the UNODC World Drug Report 2020, the number of deaths due to opioid use disorders increased by 71% over the past decade. With the diverse array of adulterants and highly synthetic opioids found mixed and pressed into counterfeit pills, misusing drugs is especially risk today, even for those who do not think they are at risk of an opioid overdose. Today, we partner with the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County and NOPE of Pinellas to spotlight overdose prevention. With the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbating the opioid crisis and increasing drug related harms globally, overdose prevention is critical.
An overdose is preventable and we need your help in spreading the word to save a life.


Friday Spotlight: Policy – Good Samaritan Laws

Today, we partner with Drug Free Manatee and the Hillsborough County Anti Drug Alliance to spotlight Good Samaritan laws. These laws offer protections from arrest and/or prosecution related to drug paraphernalia, drug possession, and other crimes to those who seek 9-1-1 assistance for a drug overdose. Currently, 46 states and the District of Columbia have such laws, however, they differ in the protections offered and often a lack of awareness and knowledge about them hinders their effectiveness by both laypersons and law enforcement. By raising awareness, we can help overcome the fear that prevents people from seeking assistance during an overdose. When someone experiences an overdose, they need medical attention immediately, even when overdose reversal medication, such as Naloxone, is used.


Saturday Spotlight: Recovery

Today, we partner with The 108 Challenge and the Recovered Users Network to spotlight recovery and give a message of hope to those with substance use disorders, their families, and friends. It is vital to understand that despite being a chronic, relapsing disorder, addiction is treatable and recovery is attainable. Don’t give up hope; recovery is a process with hope as the foundation and relationships as the support. Please watch these powerful videos on recovery and hope and find resources and support for individuals, children, and families.


Sunday Spotlight: Treatment

The most recent World Drug Report estimates that 269 million people, or 5.3 % of the global population aged 15–64, used drugs in the previous year. This is an increase of 30% from just a decade ago. Adolescents and young adults account for the largest share of those using drugs. More than 35 million people are estimated to be suffering from drug use disorders but only one in eight people who need drug-related treatment services receive it. For people with substance use disorders, the availability of services remains limited at the global level. Today, we collaborate with Dhaka Ahsania Mission (DAM) to spotlight treatment, as people with drug use disorders deserve access to evidence-based care.


Prevention Works, Recovery is Possible, and each one of us can be part of making a difference.

We want to thank the following global partners for their collaboration over these past eight days. Thank you for your videos, resources, and sharing your courageous stories with us!

Donate to help support our efforts in developing strategies that prevent drug use and promote sustained recovery.