International Overdose Awareness Day

International Overdose Awareness Day is a global event observed on August 31 each year. This special observance aims to raise awareness of drug overdose dangers while lessening the stigma of drug and alcohol addiction. Annually, International Overdose Awareness Day is held on August 31 as a day to: “We acknowledge the grief felt by families […]

We Level Up Proudly Supports International Overdose Awareness Day

International Overdose Awareness Day is a global event observed on August 31 each year. This special observance aims to raise awareness of drug overdose dangers while lessening the stigma of drug and alcohol addiction.

International Overdose Awareness Day
Support International Overdose Awareness Day — #EndOverdose

John Doe

Jedi Master

“What is the point of being alive if you don’t at least try to do something remarkable?”

Annually, International Overdose Awareness Day is held on August 31 as a day to:

  • Remember those who have been lost to fatal substance overdose
  • Celebrate those who have been rescued from or assisted in recovering someone from an overdose
  • Help reduce the stigma of overdose and substance use

“We acknowledge the grief felt by families and friends, remembering those who have died or had a permanent injury due to substance overdose.  In addition, we continue to raise awareness about addiction and treatment options.”

– Ryan Zofay, Founder of We Level Up. learn more at The Level Up Event by Ryan Zofay » Drug Alcohol Addiction Recovery Coach and Licensed Interventionist

International Overdose Awareness Day Facts

An overdose occurs when you take a toxic amount of a drug or substance.  It is also crucial to remember that not all overdoses are fatal or life-threatening.  However, medical advice should always be sought immediately if an overdose is suspected. 

An overdose is a medical emergency that needs immediate medical attention.  Always call an ambulance or get emergency help if you know or think that someone has had an overdose.

Substances that People Can Overdose on include:

  • Alcohol
  • Prescription Drugs
  • Over-The-Counter or Non-Prescription Medications
  • Illicit Drugs
  • Some Herbal Remedies
  • Combination of Certain Drugs and Alcohol

Pandemic Effects on Substance Use Disorder & Overdose

During the seven weeks between March 1 and April 18, 2020, there were significant increases in alcohol sales in the U.S. Data.  The week ending March 21 indicated that alcohol sales for off-premise locations (e.g., liquor stores) had increased by 54%.  In addition, online alcohol sales had risen by 262% compared to sales data from the same week in 2019.

Although the increases in alcohol sales did not remain at these levels, comprehensive data for that period showed that in-store purchases were up by 21% and online alcohol sales by 234% compared to 2019.  However, it is unclear whether individuals had been increasing their alcohol consumption or only stockpiling alcoholic beverages.  [3]

Overdose awareness
Many people turned to substance use during the COVID-19 Pandemic due to increased depression, anxiety, and stress.


Substance Use as a Coping Skill

More people may drink alcohol heavily or abuse certain drugs to cope with stress, sleep disturbances, and even boredom. Although addictive substances momentarily soften the brain and body’s response to stress, feelings of stress and anxiety not only return but worsen once the alcohol or drug effects wear off.  Over time, excessive alcohol consumption or drug use can cause adaptations in the brain that intensify the stress response. During the pandemic, physical distancing or “social distancing” also has profound implications for access to treatment services for those with addiction problems.

As a result of the pandemic, we learned that social support is a crucial source of reinforcement for maintaining sobriety. This kind of support is highly beneficial for helping people avoid relapse or increase in substance use.  For instance, recovery programs with a strong emphasis on peer-based support combined with various evidence-based behavioral therapies have shown lasting success in client recovery. When the pandemic began, our social construct essentially fell apart and forced isolation-an extremely common and dangerous trigger.

How Covid-19 has Impacted Families

The COVID-19 pandemic affects every family across the country and will certainly have a long-lasting impact on public health and well-being. Obviously, substance use disorder and addiction are already public health concerns in the United States.  In addition, alcohol and drugs have the potential to complicate the COVID-19 pandemic in multiple ways further.

According to the U.S. National Pandemic Emotional Impact Report, compared to men, women reported higher rates of pandemic-related changes in productivity, sleep, mood, health-related worries, and frustrations with not doing enjoyable activities.  

Overdose Symptoms 

When a person overdoses, the symptoms manifest differently in each person. Signs and symptoms depend on a variety of factors, including:

  • Which Substance You Took
  • How Much You Took
  • How You Took The Substance
  • Your State of Health
  • Your Age
  • Other Factors

Symptoms of a Drug Overdose (including Alcohol Poisoning) may include:

  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Severe Stomach Pain or Abdominal Cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Chest Pain
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of Balance, Coordination, or Consciousness
  • Limp Body
  • Seizures
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Agitation
  • Paranoia
  • Slow or Erratic Pulse
  • Difficulty Breathing, Shallow or Irregular Breathing, or Not Breathing at all
  • Hallucination
  • Visual Disturbances
  • Gurgling Sounds
  • Snoring Deeply
  • Blue Fingernails or Lips
  • Pale or Clammy Face
  • Loss of Consciousness

Reasons for Overdose

An overdose may occur accidentally if a person takes the wrong medication or combination of substances; in the wrong amount or at the wrong time without knowing that it could cause them harm.

It could also happen intentionally if a person takes an overdose to get ‘high’ or inflict self-harm, and sometimes to attempt suicide.

Suicide Prevention

If You Think Someone Is At Critical Risk of Self-Harm or Hurting Another Person:

  • Call an ambulance or your local emergency number
  • Stay with the person until help comes
  • Remove any guns, knives, medications, or other things that may cause harm
  • Listen, but don’t judge, argue, threaten, or yell
  • Learm more about suicide prevention

Overdose Risk Factors

Several Factors Can Raise the Risk of a Drug Overdose. These include:

  • Incorrect Storage of Drugs:  Inadequately stored drugs can easily cause an accidental overdose in a child who discovered the substance lying around.
  • Misunderstanding or Failure to Follow Dosage instructions:  Even adults can overdose on medication if they don’t follow the instructions.  Accidentally taking too much or taking your doses sooner than advised can easily lead to an overdose of a drug that is otherwise safe for you.
  • History of Misuse or Addiction:  Intentionally misusing prescription drugs or using illegal drugs can put you at risk of a drug overdose, especially if it often occurs or if you become addicted.  This risk progresses if you use multiple medications, mix different drugs, or use them in combination with alcohol.
  • History of Mental Disorders:  Mental disorders can also increase risk factors for a drug overdose.  Depression and suicidal thoughts can be overdose triggers that some people act upon impulsively if they are mentally ill. This is particularly true if these symptoms are not being treated.

Overdose Prevention

Some Steps to Avoid Overdose include:

  • Always read medication labels thoroughly.  Take prescription drugs only as prescribed.  Keep all medications in their original packaging.
  • Always discuss your medical history with your doctor and be honest about all drugs and/or supplements you are taking. Some herbal supplements cause very dangerous interactions when combined with illicit drugs.
  • Dispose of medications you no longer need.
  • Keep all medications, alcohol, drugs, and poisons sealed away in a safe, secure place and out of reach of children.
  • Do not ingest substances in combination with each other.
  • The best way to avoid an overdose on illicit drugs is not to use them at all.

Overdose Treatment

Treatment for a substance overdose differs depending on the situation.  Ideally, those treating someone who has overdosed will know which drug was taken, the amount of the drug, the method of use, and if any other substances were involved.  However, this information is not always available in emergency situations.

The healthcare provider may be able to use an antidote for certain drug overdoses.  For instance, the drug naloxone can help reverse the effects of a heroin overdose.  Naloxone, also known as Narcan, is the drug used by paramedics to revive people who have had an opioid drug overdose.

You Should Also Seek Emergency Aid Regarding Possible Overdose Immediately When Someone is having:

  • Seizure
  • Severe Headache
  • Severe Chest Pain
  • Breathing Difficulties
  • Notably Paranoid, Agitated and/or Confused

The most obvious way to tell if these signs indicate overdose is to know you have taken drugs or have seen someone else misuse substances, including alcohol.  Getting medical help quickly can undoubtedly make a big difference in the effectiveness of drug overdose treatment.

Inpatient Drug & Alcohol Rehab Treatment

Drug and Alcohol detox can be dangerous. The risks of complications significantly increase when you detox without the help of a professional. Because withdrawal symptoms can be hazardous and fatal, it’s crucial to have access to proper medical care.

Therefore, it is advisable to detox in a professional rehab center with access to qualified professionals who can manage possible withdrawal complications. We Level Up treatment center serves many local communities. Many of our clients who come here are seeking the best quality alcohol and drug rehab treatment programs. Some come from all around the United States, Canada, and even internationally to attend our top-rated rehab program.

If you or a loved one is dealing with an addiction to alcohol or other drugs, especially if you have experienced multiple relapses or overdoses in the past, then look no further.  In addition, to a history of recovery success stories;  We Level Up Treatment Centers offers one of the most comprehensive addiction recovery programs available in The United States. Bringing hope to families every day.

To learn more, check out these resources:

About We Level Up Treatment Centers

We Level Up is a renowned treatment center that applies evidence-based treatment modalities and holistic programs to improve client recovery outcomes—combining traditional elements of SUD treatment, including supervised medical recovery coupled with intensive behavioral rehab. 

Offering cutting-edge advanced therapies, We Level Up is an accredited dual diagnosis mental health care provider.  Fully integrating co-occurring conditions into our programs.   Most importantly, our top-notch doctors, therapists, and specialists leverage the power of science to help clients succeed in rehab recovery.

We provide best-in-class treatment in multiple locations, with amenities and activities designed to reinforce recovery success metrics.  In addition, each client receives lifetime alumni support post inpatient treatment along with family resources to help maintain recovery momentum, even once they depart our treatment facilities.

Above all, our vision is to help create legions of self-empowered individuals who are entirely in control of their lives and destinies, enabling them to get what they desire from this life, experiencing it to their fullest, most liberating potential.  Through these hosts of self-empowered and self-aware individuals, we will see families that communicate with more love, trust, and caring for one another, businesses that thrive in ways never before thought possible, and friendships that reach new heights.

Who is Ryan Zofay?

In 2019 he founded the Level Up Development Series.  Level Up is a unique development program that provides attendees with the tools and knowledge to eliminate limiting thoughts from their lives and to reach their full potential.  As Ryan Zofay explains in his February 2020 Sober Nation podcast interview, he invests in the people who he hires because with a strong team, together, they can make a difference.

Ryan Zofay is most passionate about sharing his practical lessons that change lives.  As a successful entrepreneur and motivational speaker, he teaches development strategies that improve performance, connection, and overall mindset.

Using the teachings of his successes and tribulations, Ryan has a unique ability to facilitate significant change for individuals and organizations.  In addition, Ryan’s passion and enthusiasm readily spill over to his listeners. 

Moreover, his life accounts, incredible comeback journies, along with the wisdom he developed, help formulate instructions on how to realize your goals.  Visit the Ryan Zofay Events page for further more details.

If you consider addiction treatment for you or someone you love, We Level Up can help.  Please contact us today for a confidential consultation with a member of our intake team, and for more information regarding International Overdose Awareness Day.


[1] Drug Overdose Deaths – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
[2] Alcohol – World Health Organization
[3] The Nielsen Company Rebalancing the ‘COVID-19 Effect’ on Alcohol Sales –
The Level Up Event by Ryan Zofay » Drug Alcohol Addiction Recovery Coach and Licensed Interventionist –

Drug overdose setting new highs, charts and statistics –

Mental Health Recovery Month chart and statistics –

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