No Judgement, Just Help And Support. Let’s Fight Against The Stigma

Kasturi Goswami
4 min readAug 31, 2022

Overdose (OD) (verb): The intentional or accidental over usage of a drug. It is the misuse of a substance, either prescription or over-the-counter, legal or illegal. An overdose can lead to serious medical complications. The International Overdose Awareness Day, held on the 31st of August, is a global event meant to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma surrounding drug-related deaths.


The first-ever Overdose Awareness Day observed in 2001 was initiated by Sally J. Finn. She did it while serving in The Salvation Army in Melbourne, Australia. She had mentioned her idea to co-worker Peter Streker, and together they strived to raise awareness of the risks of overdoses. According to a news report, the organizers distributed more than 6,000 silver condolence ribbons to grieving families and friends of people who lost their lives to a drug overdose. Following the event’s success, more organizations joined in the noble cause. As of present, over 40 countries have joined hands to observe this day annually and spread awareness.

Reasons To Observe

The news floods us with daily headlines of suicide attempts through drug abuse. Thus, amassing knowledge of the definition, risks, implications, and prevention steps of a drug overdose can serve as an instrument to save possible abusers.

Signs and Symptoms

The severity level of overdose depends on three factors:

  1. the drug that is overdosed
  2. the amount of overdose
  3. the medical history of the abuser

The usual symptoms of an overdose are:

  • Ragged breathing and decreased heart rate
  • Cold skin
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Agitation and aggression
  • Dilated pupils
  • Blue lips and nails due to low levels of oxygen in the blood
  • Muscle spasms and seizures
  • Unconsciousness
  • Hallucinations

So How Do We Prevent An Abuser With A History Or A Possible Abuser From Starting Out

Though Prevention appears to be a massive word in the context, it is possible to some extent. Following proper steps can help curb the abuse, to an extent, for it is ultimately a deeply personal decision.

  • Parents can ensure proper storage of drugs at home to keep out curious little snooping kids and pets, thus curbing accidental overdose. Studies exhibit that teenagers use their parents’ prescription drugs as a source to get high. Hence, parents can prevent such abuse by keeping the drugs locked up and away from teenage children.
  • If a person is an addict, they should gather the courage to go through rehabilitation. Rehab helps them monitor and curb those addictive urges. If your loved one has a history of overdose, encourage them to go through the rehabilitation procedure. Motivating and appreciating them at every small step towards becoming drug-free is a huge help.
  • Mental disorders are a contributing factor to drug overdose cases. If a person is depressed or has suicidal tendencies, they should undergo counseling therapies and sessions to help them with their possible triggers.

How To React When Faced With A Situation Involving Overdose

If we witness a case of overdose, we should be careful to handle the situation delicately. We should not abandon the abuser and ensure they get medical aid at the earliest. The overdoser can be revived if the appropriate help is received at the right time. If we come across a person who is depressed or suicidal or is at risk of inflicting self-harm, we should try reasoning out a way to make him seek the proper psychiatric care that he or she needs.

In case of emotional crises, mental illness issues, and suicidal ideation, families undergoing trauma after the suicide of a loved one can seek help from helplines available for these purposes. A reach out can save a life. We all have the power to help a lost soul to redeem itself, so we should lend a helping hand. Suicide doesn’t end the chances of life getting worse. Suicide eliminates the possibility of it ever getting any better.

Where did I go wrong?

I lost a friend,

Somewhere along in the bitterness

And I would have stayed up with you all night

Had I known how to save a life

~ The Fray, How To Save A Life

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Video Source ~ YouTube



Kasturi Goswami

I head the content team of a digital transformation startup. Medium is an outlet for my itch to write something that isn't part of my job.