“Time to remember. Time to act.” Aug. 31 was International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD), a global event to raise awareness of overdose and to reduce the stigma of drug-related death. It also serves to acknowledge the grief felt by families and friends remembering those who have met with death or permanent injury as a result of drug overdose. An important goal of IOAD is to spread the message that the tragedy of overdose death is preventable. Tragically, too many lives are lost in the shame of drug use and abuse. The message of IOAD is that the value of each human being nullifies presumption, prejudice and stigma toward people who use drugs. Help is infinitely more important than judgment.

Wearing silver has become the symbol of IOAD. It promotes awareness and demonstrates support for anyone bearing a burden of grief due to overdose, its effects and its casualties. Thousands of people die every year from drug-related causes. These victims come from all walks of life. It is important to stand by and stand up to support those in need. And it is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of drug use and abuse. The impact of drug use and abuse goes far beyond the user to family, friends and the community at large.

IOAD is a day to remember, grieve and help others as well as to seek help if you are in need.

We may be reached at coalition@ridgefieldct.org, facebook.com/ridgefieldpreventioncouncil or ridgefieldpreventioncouncil.org.