Person holding Narcan Nasal Spray, the life-saving overdose reversal medication

SLO County Hosts 4th Annual Overdose Awareness Day Event

Author: Behavioral Health
Date: 8/29/2022 3:08 PM

International Overdose Awareness Day will be celebrated Wednesday, August 31st at Mitchell Park in San Luis Obispo.

The SLO County Overdose Awareness Group and the SLO Opioid Safety Coalition are coming together to honor International Overdose Awareness Day on Wednesday, August 31st at Mitchell Park in San Luis Obispo, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

International Overdose Awareness Day, recognized on August 31 every year, was started in 2001 in Australia and now is recognized around the world. SLO County Overdose Awareness and the SLO Opioid Safety Coalition are partnering again this year to bring awareness about how overdose affects each one of us. The event is a time to remember loved ones lost, and a time to act.

“Every day, lives around us are being changed and lost to overdose,” says Jennifer Rhoads, SLO County’s Opioid Safety Coordinator. “Overdose does not discriminate; it can affect you or someone you love, a friend, colleague, or a neighbor.”

The SLO County Coroner’s office reported an increase in overdose deaths in SLO County in 2021. In 2021, SLO County lost 123 residents to overdose, a 40% increase from 2020 (88 deaths) and a 132% increase from 2019 (53 deaths). Three out of four overdoses in 2021 involved opioids.

This year’s International Overdose Awareness Day event is free to the public and will be held outdoors near the gazebo in Mitchell Park, San Luis Obispo. This annual evening of learning and remembrance is for anyone affected by overdose or substance use in SLO County and for those who wish to learn more about the issue.

Local agencies will present a resource fair, offering information about how to prevent overdose and find services available in SLO County. There will be free overdose prevention trainings and free distribution of Narcan nasal spray (also called naloxone), the life-saving overdose reversal medication. The evening will conclude with a ceremony presented by Hospice of SLO County with the Threshold Singers, poetry, and a candle-lighting ceremony to remember and honor loved ones lost to and those affected by overdose.

The SLO Opioid Safety Coalition was formed in 2016 by a group of concerned community organizations, first responders, healthcare professionals, and social service providers to reduce the local impact of opioid use and prescription drug misuse in San Luis Obispo County. The coalition utilizes a variety of strategies to reduce opioid use and risks, promote access to harm reduction and treatment services, and increase collaboration to improve supportive services to the community. Learn more about the coalition at