In this past year, a record 93,000 people have died of drug overdose according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In this data, opioids were responsible for more than 75% of these deaths.

Launching in 2001, International Overdose Awareness Day tirelessly strives to end overdose around the world. It quickly became an important avenue for remembering those lost, without the stigma often attached to it, and has become a way to support loved ones affected by overdose.

Sadly, many overdose deaths can be prevented. An overdose means someone has taken too much of a drug or a combination of drugs for their body to handle; this includes prescription medication.

Visit to view the details of each category of overdose, to get involved and learn more about preventing overdose.

Using the Recovery Position

Depending on the alertness of the person you suspect might be having an overdose, you can put them in the recovery position on their side while waiting for medics to arrive. Here are quick steps to follow:

Support their face: As you prepare to roll the person onto their side, place the arm closest to you at a right angle to their body. Then place their other hand under their cheek.

Lift their far leg: Get a hold of their far leg just above the knee and pull it upward, keeping their foot flat on the ground.

Roll them over: Keeping their hand under their cheek, pull on the upper leg to roll them toward you and onto their side into the recovery position. Their top leg will now be on the ground and their face will be facing downward, rather than up, to prevent choking if vomiting.

Remember, it is critical to stay with the person until medics arrive, monitor their breathing and do not give them anything to eat or drink. Don’t induce vomiting.


“Drug Overdose: Urgent Need for Overdose Prevention Interventions,”, accessed July 7, 2021.

“About the Campaign,”, accessed July 8, 2021.