‘He survived, and at the time I remember being confused about what had happened’
The cranes are back, and that can only mean one thing.
International Overdose Awareness Day is just around the corner, and it continues to go from strength-to-strength.
This year the number of organisations folding origami cranes to raise awareness has increased, and so has the number of art installations.
Anglicare Tasmania, YFCC and the Launceston City Mission will be joining the ATDC and hosting art installations on International Overdose Awareness Day on Tuesday, 31 August 2021. (more information)
International Overdose Awareness Day continues to be an important day where we can raise awareness of overdose, and increase understanding about drug use.
It’s also a day where we get to challenge stereotypes, and address the underlying stigma that can be associated with overdose, and drug use more generally.
Like many of you reading this, you will have your own lived experience.
When talking recently about International Overdose Awareness Day recently, I recalled a memory from many years ago.
I would have been no older than 22 and I had spent the evening drinking and celebrating Halloween with a large group of friends at a costume party.
It was the morning after and I can’t remember why I thought there was something wrong with my friend, but I was motivated to check in on him.
This was back in the days before mobile phones really took off, and the only way to check on him was to drop into his work.
Looking weary from a long night, I remember giving his workmates a fright when they mistook the leftover make up on my face for fake blood.
Unfortunately, my friend had not turned up to work that morning.
It was only after a friend scaled three stories to get access to his apartment, that we were able to confirm our fears and call an ambulance.
He survived, and at the time I remember being confused about what had happened.
I was to learn later that he was taking regular medication for an existing mental health concern, and it was rumored that a big night of drinking may have been a contributing factor to an accidental overdose.
This was a young man who didn’t fit the typical stereotype of someone the general community might expect to experience a drug overdose.
I’ve since learnt he would have certainly fit the profile of the statistics we see today.
That is, someone who is taking medication for pain or anxiety who might also consume alcohol, which puts themselves at greater risk of an accidental overdose.
International Overdose Awareness Day gives me an opportunity to reflect and remember and I will fold a crane for this person and hope that over the past 20 years he has gone on to live a full and wonderful life.
On the 31 August I will also take every opportunity to talk about drug use, challenge the stereotypes and raise awareness and reduce the stigma.
I invite you to join me.
Chief Executive Officer