International Overdose Awareness Day – August 31st

August 31st is International Overdose Awareness Day.  It’s a day to remember the loved ones we’ve lost to overdose, but also to educate ourselves on the signs of overdose. We need to continue to bring awareness in order to prevent more deaths from overdose.

To bring awareness this year, I will be sharing information on alcohol overdoses. I have several family members who are recovering alcoholics, so educating myself on alcohol overdose hits home for me. I’ve provided links to the International Overdose Awareness Day Fact Sheets that go into detail about what to do if someone you know is showing signs of an overdose from alcohol or other types of substances. It could save their life.


What is Alcohol? 

Alcohol is a legal depressant that slows down the messages traveling between the brain and the body.  Alcohol depresses the nerves that control involuntary actions such as breathing and the gag reflex (to prevent choking). A fatal dose of alcohol will eventually cause these functions to shut down. Since alcohol is an irritant to the stomach, excessive vomiting is also common. If the person is unconscious, this could lead to death by asphyxiation.


Signs of an Overdose

  • Confusion
  • Loss of co-ordination
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Irregular breathing (a gap of more than 10 seconds between breaths)
  • Slow breathing (less than eight breaths per minute)
  • Pale or blue tinged skin
  • Low body temperature (hypothermia)
  • Unconsciousness or passing out

How to Respond

  • Check for danger
  • Call for an ambulance and stay on the line
  • Stay with them
  • Keep them warm
  • If they are unconscious, put them in the recovery position and check that they are breathing (don’t leave them on their back)
  • If they are awake, try to keep them in a sitting position and awake
  • Give CPR if they stop breathing before ambulance arrives

Fact Sheets

Click on any of these fact sheets to learn more about what the substances are, the signs of an overdose, and how to respond when someone is showing these signs.


History of International Overdose Awareness Day: 

“International Overdose Awareness Day was initiated in 2001 by Sally J Finn at The Salvation Army in St Kilda, Melbourne.

Since 2001, many community members as well as government and non-government organisations have held events to raise awareness and commemorate those who have been lost to drug overdose.

Since 2012, International Overdose Awareness Day has been coordinated by the not-for-profit Australian public health organization Penington Institute.” (Description from OverdoesDay website)

Get To Know Our 2020 Scholarship Recipient – Victoria Rogers

We’d like to formally introduce our 5th Place 2020 Scholarship Recipient, Carson Watts. The Lisa Michelle Memorial Fund was established to assist and recognize students who have lost a parent to substance abuse. We are proud to award a $100 scholarship to Victoria.

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Victoria Rogers, I am 19 years old and go to Jacksonville University for theater arts. I love playwriting and light design.

Q: Imagine yourself 10 years from now. What goals and ambitions do you have for yourself, personally, academically, and professionally?

10 years from now I would like to have graduated with my MFA and to be producing my own work, whether it be live theatre or film work. I would also like to be working in my community, possibly through a youth program, similar to ones I went to when I was younger.

Q: Aside from a college degree, what do you hope to gain from your college experience?

Along with my college degree, I hope to gain from a college a deeper understanding of myself, human nature, the world around me, and I hope to make connections and relationships that will last a lifetime.

Q: What motivates you to continue working towards accomplishing your goals?

The main things that keep me motivated in life are my mother, my family, my friends, and the future. I want to create a future that not only I will be happy to live in, but the people around me will be able to flourish in, too.

Q: What advice would you give to other students who have been through circumstances similar to yours?

To anyone who has gone through something similar to me, I would advise to not spend so much time worrying. It is natural, of course. I worry all the time if I will ever be able to move on, if I will end up just like my mother, if there was something more I could have done. You are going to be okay. Take those worries and use them to move forward. Create or do something that your loved one would be proud of; that you can be proud of. Thank the universe for the time you had and don’t let anyone or anything stop you from becoming the person you want to be, because, let’s face it: you have been through hell and made it out to see another day. Make it a good one.