Started in 2001 in Australia by Sally J. Finn at The Salvation Army in Melbourne, International Overdose Awareness Day takes place annually on August 31st and is the world’s largest annual campaign to end drug overdose deaths. The annual campaign also works to remember without stigma those who have died as a result of a drug overdose, as well as acknowledge the grief felt by family and friends left behind and that have been impacted by the drug overdose death of a loved one.

Addiction is the largest public health crisis facing the United States, and overdose deaths have been rising at an alarming rate. Everybody knows someone that has suffered from addiction, is suffering from addiction, or has found recovery from addiction. Too many people- mothers, fathers, grandparents, children, friends- also know someone that has died by a drug overdose or who have lost someone to a drug overdose. International Overdose Awareness Day offers a platform to mourn those who have been lost, acknowledge those who have lost someone, raise awareness about addiction and overdose deaths, break the stigma associated with addiction and overdose deaths, and facilitate education about prevention efforts, harm reduction initiatives, and addiction treatment resources and recovery support.

On August 31st, 2022, communities around the world and throughout the country will host events to raise awareness and acknowledge loss, as well as facilitate informational resources for those still struggling, and get into the hands of those that need it harm reduction and life saving tools like Narcan and fentanyl test strips.

Since America was impacted by the COVID-19 global health pandemic, the drug overdose death numbers have been rising at an alarming rate. The isolation and disconnection caused by the pandemic have caused rising rates of substance use disorder and addiction, mental health concerns, and suicide. Rising too are the number of deaths due to drug overdoses. Combine the concerns of COVID-19 with the increased use of the powerful opioid drug fentanyl into the illicit drug supply, and America is continuing to deal with a crisis of overdose deaths that does not seem to be slowing down. Almost one million Americans have lost their lives to a drug overdose death since 1999. In 2020 alone, 91,799 people died due to a drug overdose, with the number of deaths rising in 2021 to 100,306 lives. Experts fear 2022 will be even worse. And these numbers only account for fatal overdoses, and do not include the thousands and hundred of thousands of Americans who overdosed and thankfully survived, often being revived by the life-saving medication Narcan (naloxone.)

International Overdose Awareness Day offers local communities the opportunity to address these issues, remember those lost, and help to save the lives of those still suffering. Here in Maryland, several communities will offer events during International Overdose Awareness Day.

International Overdose Awareness Day Events in Maryland


International Overdose Awareness Day Vigil, hosted by Adam’s Light, Inc.

Location: Angel Park Amphitheater, 9650 Honeygo Blvd., Perry Hall, Maryland

Ellicott City:

International Overdose Awareness Day- Recovery & Remembrance- the Journeys of Healing

Location: St. John’s Episcopal Church, 9120 Frederick Road, Ellicott City, Maryland


9th Annual Overdose Candlelight Vigil, hosted by Voices of Hope, Inc.

Location: 106 South Main Street, North East, Maryland


International Overdose Awareness Event- Stories of Hope and a Candlelight Vigil, hosted by Maryland Coalition of Families

Location: 10 Spruce Lane, Oakland, Maryland

If you or someone you know needs help for addiction or co-occurring disorder issues, please give us a call. Maryland Addiction Recovery Center offers the most comprehensive dual diagnosis addiction treatment in the Mid-Atlantic area. If we aren’t the best fit for you or your loved one, we will take the necessary time to work with you to find a treatment center or provider that better fits your needs. Please give us a call at (410) 773-0500 or email our team at For more information on all of our drug addiction, alcohol addiction and co-occurring disorder services and recovery resources, please visit our web site at