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International Overdose Awareness Day 2023.

Published: 31 August 2023.

Today is International Overdose Awareness Day – 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.

Across Wales, families and communities continue to experience the impact of drug related death. International Overdose Awareness Day is a reminder that overdoses can be prevented by providing readily available support, information and interventions. It is also a reminder that stigma and fear of judgment experienced by people who use drugs can drive them away from accessing life-saving services.

The only way to avoid risk is to not take any drugs which are not prescribed for you. If you do decide to use substances, you can submit an anonymous sample to the WEDINOS Project for analysis, and get accurate information on the contents of the substance before you decide whether to use it.

Anyone can help prevent overdoses by knowing the signs of an overdose and by knowing how to use Naloxone.

Naloxone is a life-saving medication that can temporarily reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. The medication works within five minutes of being administered and can last between 20 to 40 minutes, giving enough time for medical assistance to step in.

Training in the administration of Naloxone has been provided to emergency services and other organisations across Wales and can be accessed by anyone who may experience or witness an overdose, including people who use drugs, their friends, and their families. In Wales, Barod offers a Click & Deliver Naloxone, which can be accessed here

Rick Lines, Head of Programme Substance Misuse said: "Drug-related deaths continue to be a cause of great concern in Wales.  Although our national overdose prevention response has been strengthened, and public awareness has increased, there are still too many people dying from drug-related causes.  International Overdose Awareness Day reminds us to continue to expand our efforts to reduce drug-related deaths in Wales, and to combat the stigma associated with drug use that isolates so many people away from services.’

As the leading public health organisation in Wales, we continue to work together with partners and members of our community to achieve a healthier Wales for all.

Public Health Wales is committed to helping reduce the stigma around drug use in order to create an environment where people feel safe enough to ask for help.