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Overdose Death Is Preventable!

Updated: Oct 20, 2022

International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD) is August 31, 2021! International Overdose Awareness Day is the world’s largest annual campaign to end overdose, remember without stigma those who have died, and acknowledge the grief of the family and friends left behind. Time to Remember. Time to Act.

September is National Recovery Month in the United States. These two observances frame an important conversation that parents must have with their children, adults must have with each other, and the church must include as an essential part of helping people experience renewal.

Both IOAD and National Recovery Month are coordinated observances that provide resources and information at no cost to anyone or any organization willing to take up the cause. The observance of IOAD focuses on saving lives by ending overdose death and addiction.

According to, an online resource supported by the National Institute of Health and the Department of Health and Human Services.

National Drug-Involved Overdose Deaths—Number Among All Ages, by Gender, 1999-2019. More than 70,000 Americans died from drug-involved overdose in 2019, including illicit drugs and prescription opioids. The figure above is a bar and line graph showing the total number of U.S. drug overdose deaths involving any illicit or prescription opioid drug from 1999 to 2019. The bars are overlaid by lines showing the number of deaths by gender from 1999 to 2018 (Source: CDC WONDER).

The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) reports that 7,764 African Americans died from an overdose in 2019. Of those who died, 82 occurred in Kentucky. The challenge with that number is that overdose death is 100% preventable. The Eighty-two preventable deaths thrust families into suffering and the grief of losing a loved one to an avoidable death.

Further complicating the crisis is the prevailing sentiment that they are “just druggies, addicts who chose that life." The truth is, people, fall into addiction and overdose for a myriad of reasons. Some deaths are accidental overdoses resulting from a child finding unattended medication and mistakes it for candy.

On August 31, 2021, IOAD, people, and organizations across the world will demonstrate support for those whose lives were taken and those who remain to mourn the loss. A couple of ways to support the cause is to:

  • Light the exterior of your home, church, or business with a purple light bulb.

  • Engage your youth and adults in participating in the Purple Sand Project.

Use purple sand to fill the cracks in the sidewalks and walkways around your home, church, or business. By creating purple sand art, drawings, and hashtag statements, you demonstrate your support for the work of ending overdose and overdose death.

Once you have placed the sand in the cracks and drawn on the sidewalks, take pictures and post the images to social media using the #EndOverdose #OverdoseAwareness and #IOAD2021 hashtags. Purple sand can be found at your local hobby shops if you are interested in participating in International Overdose Awareness Day. Get more information by visiting

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