Support Recovery through International Overdose Awareness Day & National Recovery Month

More Americans are beginning to understand the sweeping addiction epidemic that this country faces. But to ensure that everyone comprehends what is now one of America’s worst national public health emergencies, it’s essential to utilize key strategies that raise awareness of the nation’s drug problem.

The United States of America struggles with not one but two major public health emergencies, COVID-19 and the drug addiction epidemic. And while COVID has made it far more challenging to gather in-person and work together to address our nation’s problems, the drug crisis has grown unfettered, becoming more devastating than perhaps ever before.

Purple Ribbon
Photo by simarik/

Now more than ever, we must raise awareness of addiction in America, do it safely (being COVID-conscious), and work to reverse this crisis every day until the problem abates.

International Overdose Awareness Day

International Overdose Awareness Day falls on August 31st, a worldwide movement to raise awareness that hundreds of thousands of people across the planet lose their lives to drug overdoses every year. The annual event seeks to raise awareness for the fact that overdose deaths are occurring, and that overdose deaths are preventable. The event also works to reduce the stigma connected to addiction and overdoses. Everywhere the event is recognized, goals include but are not limited to:

  • Providing information about overdose risk within one’s community.
  • Discussing available community services that may help lower annual overdose numbers.
  • Strategizing evidence-based policy (like diversion of addicts to treatment, not incarceration) to end the vicious cycle of addiction.

The rampant expansion of the opioid epidemic in the United States and other countries is a big part of why events like International Overdose Awareness Day are essential. Beginning around the turn of the century and then evolving and changing through the early and mid-2000s, the opiate epidemic claims tens of thousands of lives in the U.S. every year. And while the crisis may have started with prescription opiates like OxyContin and hydrocodone, the epidemic now includes even more dangerous synthetic, highly potent substances like fentanyl. Because these substances cause fatal overdoses in the thousands each year, it’s essential to raise awareness that such events are occurring and that such events are preventable.

National Recovery Month

National Recovery Month encompasses the month of September, immediately following August 31st’s International Overdose Awareness Day. National Recovery Month is a crucial observance held throughout the 30 days of September to educate and inform Americans on the threat of addiction and the fact that addiction is treatable.

There are considerable stereotypes and stigma that affect the lives of drug and alcohol addicts. Though their crisis is real and though their addiction is life-threatening and sometimes even life-ending, that doesn’t stop addicts from being consistently stereotyped, shamed, and even ostracized by the communities in which they live.

That has to stop.

Recovery Month seeks to reduce stereotypes and stigma by showing that recovery is real and that sobriety is attainable. Keep in mind that while there may be millions of Americans in the United States who are currently using drugs and alcohol, there are tens of millions of individuals who once struggled with addiction but who pushed through and came out drug-free on the other side. Recovery Month exists to show people that recovery is attainable and that it is worth it.

Why Is It So Important to Raise Awareness?

One of the critical reasons why it is essential to raise awareness for addiction in America is because of how lethal this problem has become. Yes, America has always suffered from drug addiction problems of one kind or another. People have died from these issues throughout U.S. history, but never at the tragically high numbers currently being reported.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, at least 128 people die every day from opioid overdoses alone. That is the current, daily death toll from just one type of drug. Opioid addiction alone is a national public health crisis. Such a devastating blow has long-reaching effects on not only those addicted but also on the country’s broader social and economic aspects. For example, just prescription opioid misuse alone costs the United States about $78.5 billion per year in healthcare costs, lost productivity, treatment, accidents, collateral damage, legal expenses, and criminal justice involvement.

“2018 data shows that every day, 128 people in the United States die after overdosing on opioids.” – National Institute on Drug Abuse

The opioid crisis is far more prevalent than many believe, yet another reason it is so crucial to recognize events like International Overdose Awareness Day and National Recovery Month is to raise awareness for this crisis. For example, almost one-third of patients who are prescribed an opioid pain reliever will misuse the prescription at some point. At least ten percent of them will develop addictions to their pills, and at least five percent will go on to use heroin. What this means is that opioid addiction is so prevalent in the United States that, when one seeks out a prescription painkiller, even if for legitimate reasons, they still face a ten percent chance of becoming addicted to their meds.

America’s addiction crisis, even by just examining opiate addiction alone, is widespread. That’s why raising awareness is so critical.

Addiction Treatment – The Solution to Ending America’s Addiction Crisis

Without a doubt, the threat of addiction in America will not subsist until those addicted to drugs and alcohol seek treatment and avail themselves of the necessary resources to get off of substances for life. Thankfully, drug and alcohol rehab centers exist to help addicts do just that.

It is almost impossible to get off of drugs on one’s own. Anyone who has struggled with addiction and who has tried this understands just how difficult it is. In addition to that, it can also be quite dangerous to attempt coming down off of drugs and alcohol on one’s own.

Residential drug and alcohol rehab centers can help recovering addicts come down off of drugs safely. And equally important, rehab centers can help recovering addicts address the underlying issues, struggles, crises, and motivators that compelled them to use drugs in the first place.

If you know someone who is struggling with substance abuse, please contact Narconon today. There is a way out of the trap, but it has to start with treatment. Call today before it is too late.




After working in addiction treatment for several years, Ren now travels the country, studying drug trends and writing about addiction in our society. Ren is focused on using his skill as an author and counselor to promote recovery and effective solutions to the drug crisis. Connect with Ren on LinkedIn.