International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD) is a global event held on August 31 each year which aims to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death. This day also acknowledges the grief felt by families and friends remembering those that have lost their lives or experienced permanent injury because of drug overdose.

This week, HCA would like to share some resources that promote understanding and preventing overdose in our state.

Anyone in Washington State who might experience or witness an opioid overdose is allowed and encouraged to carry and administer naloxone. Washington’s Good Samaritan Law provides some protections when calling 9-1-1 to save a life — even if drugs are at the scene. In particular:

  • If you seek medical assistance in a drug-related overdose, you cannot be prosecuted for drug possession.
  • The overdose victim is also protected from drug possession charges.

Someone who is overdosing may stop breathing or their breathing may be slow and labored. Remember to act fast, as an overdose can be life threatening. Give naloxone even if you do not know what kind of drugs a person took. Naloxone will only work on opioids, and there is no harm caused if a person took a different kind of drug.

Other resources:

Additional resources and information at