Overdose Awareness Day

August 31, 2016 all-day

The abuse of opioids was related to 18 overdose deaths in Windsor-Essex County in 2014. While many believe that only those who use illegal drugs are at risk for overdose, it is not uncommon that overdoses occur as the result of the abuse and misuse of prescription pain medications like oxycodone or fentanyl.

Canadians are the second highest users of opioids in the world and in some parts of Canada; opioid overdose deaths have been declared a public health crisis. In Canada (2013), 99,000 people aged 15 years and older reported abusing opioids. In 2015, of over 10,000 grade 7 to 12 students in Ontario approximately 1 in 10 reported using opioids to get high.


August 31st is ‘International Overdose Awareness Day.’ Global events on this day aim to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of drug-related deaths. Locally, the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit and the AIDS Committee of Windsor (ACW) want everyone in their community to know how to prevent a person who uses opioids from dying of an overdose. Residents can learn more about opioid overdose by:

  • Downloading the International Overdose Awareness Day app. It helps friends and family members recognize overdose signs and instructs on how to respond correctly.
  • Speaking to someone that works behind a pharmacy counter about how to get an overdose prevention kit that contains the drug naloxone, which can reverse the symptoms of an overdose.
  • Visiting an ACW outreach worker Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or a public health nurse providing a naloxone overdose clinic for people who use drugs.
  • Looking at the website for more information


Knowing the facts about opioids and what to do when someone is overdosing does save lives. International Overdose Awareness Day provides an opportunity for people to reflect on practical ways to prevent an opioid overdose in their community.


The Windsor and Essex County Health Unit and the AIDS Committee of Windsor help people who use drugs to reduce their risk of an opioid overdose. Together they provide a weekly opioid overdose prevention and treatment (naloxone) clinic at the AIDS Committee of Windsor. People who use drugs can talk with a public health nurse to learn how to recognize the signs of and learn how to prevent an opioid overdose.  Before leaving the clinic, clients get a naloxone kit and they know how to use it to save a life.

Media Contacts

Communications Department
Windsor-Essex County Health Unit
519-258-2146 ext. 6397 (NEWS)

AIDS Committee of Windsor

Byron Klingbyle

Harm Reduction Services

511 Pelissier St

Windsor, ON N9A 4L2

519-973-0222 ext. 102

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