Gateway Health and other organisations around the world came together yesterday to remember those who have died or suffered injury due to overdose.

International Overdose Awareness Day, observed on 31 August every year, is the world’s largest annual campaign to end overdose, remember without stigma those who have died and acknowledge the grief of the family and friends left behind.

The campaign seeks to raise awareness of overdose, remove the stigma around drug-related deaths and create change to reduce the harms associated with drug use.

“Overdose can affect anybody and one of the messages of this day is that the people who overdose are our sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters – they are loved and they are missed,” says General Manager Alcohol and Other Drugs, Maryanne Donnellan.

“However, there are also many services available locally for people who are at risk of overdose.

For example, naloxone is a medication that can reverse an opioid overdose. It is available at Gateway Health for anyone who is likely to experience an opioid overdose and for family, friends and loved ones who are likely to witness an opioid overdose.”

It’s important that our local communities know there are services available to support them in reducing harm from drug and alcohol use – and to help people make positive changes in their lives.

To help raise awareness the Rural City of Wangaratta and Wodonga Council lit the local water towers purple last night.

You can reach our Alcohol and Other Drugs team by email at

Visit Alcohol and Drug Support to find the services we provide.