Principal Pharmacist at the Maudsley National Psychiatric Medicines Advice Service Kalliopi Vallianatou explores the meaning of International Overdose Awareness Day and how our Trust is marking the day.
International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD) is the world’s largest campaign to end overdose, remember without stigma those who have died, and acknowledge the grief of the family and friends left behind.
We know that people who suffer from mental ill-health have a heightened risk of other health problems, and particularly problems with drugs. On 31 August, the world will mark International Overdose Awareness Day. The campaign raises awareness of overdose and aims to stimulate action and discussion about evidence-based overdose prevention and drug policy.
The 2023 theme ‘recognising those people who go unseen’ is about acknowledging people in our communities who are affected by overdose. This could be the family and friends grieving the loss of a loved one, colleagues in the health and social care sectors, other support services, or paramedics and first responders.
On the day, our services will be running a series of education and awareness raising events online and across our sites which will offer information, training, and advice around overdose prevention.
It is also a time to acknowledge the profound grief felt by families and friends whose loved ones have died or suffered permanent injury from a drug overdose. At the Bethlem Royal Hospital, a candlelight vigil is taking place as a non-denominational service of remembrance. Our Maudsley Hospital building will be illuminated with purple lights in the evening to raise awareness of the campaign and remember people who have lost their lives or been affected by the overdoses of loved ones.
Together, we can take action to end overdoses and save lives.
Kalliopi Vallianatou, Principal Pharmacist, NMP Lead
Maudsley National Psychiatric Medicines Advice Service