International Overdose Awareness Day is an annual event, held on 31 August, to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of drug-related death. The EU drugs agency (EMCDDA) marks the day by highlighting its latest figures on overdose deaths in Europe and expressing support for interventions that prevent such harms.
Latest evidence from the EMCDDA shows that drug overdose deaths in Europe have risen for the third consecutive year (2). A total of 8 441 overdose deaths, mainly related to heroin and other opioids, are estimated to have occurred in Europe in 2015 (28 EU, Turkey and Norway), representing a 6% increase on the 2014 figure of 7 950 in the 30 countries. Preliminary data for 2016 suggest that this increasing trend is continuing. Europe’s 1.3 million problem opioid users are among the most vulnerable.