n inner-city lifestyle and the desire to create can lend itself to experimentation and open-mindedness when it comes to recreational drug use. Overdose, however, is still very much a misunderstood and dangerous aspect of drug use. Not only something that can happen to addicts and those whose recreational use becomes more regular, overdose is a very real risk associated with drug use, and has wide reaching affects.
For the last ten years, the 31st August has been Overdose Awareness Day. “It’s a day where we put value on the lives of people who have died from overdose,” explains founder Sally Finn, who started the day in St Kilda back in 2000. “It’s about maintaining awareness and pushing forward with reforms to keep people alive.”
For Finn, desired reforms are as wide and varied as more comprehensive treatment plans for alcohol misuse and better exit plans for prisoners coming back into society. The 31st is a day when people who have lost someone to overdose can stop and acknowledge that loss with dignity and respect, something that death by overdose can often be short of. “There is so much stigma and misunderstanding about overdose,” says Finn, “on this day we acknowledge all drugs, not just heroin, and we consider people with mental health issues who may use a mixture of drugs and are at risk.”
The promising news in all this is the broad recognition this day now receives. “The UN acknowledged the day in 2008,” she explains, “as do the EurAsian Harm Reduction Network and it is recognised throughout the United States also.”
Overdose Awareness Day is marked by the wearing of a silver pin, these are available through the website.