Skip to main content

On International Overdose Awareness Day, Parents Across the Nation Gather to Remember and Honor Lives Lost and Educate Communities about Solutions to the Overdose Crisis.

By Moms United/A New Path —

Moms United to End the War on Drugs representatives are raising awareness about the crisis on accidental overdoses across the nation and around the world. Families will hold rallies and vigils during the week leading up to International Overdose Awareness Day (August 31) that will honor and remember those who have lost their lives to an overdose. They are educating policymakers and the public about the growing global overdose crisis and offering concrete solutions that save lives. Moms are calling on the government to reform drug laws to legally control and regulate drugs in order to stop more people from dying.

There are solutions that can save lives, such as expanding access to naloxone, a non-narcotic drug that reverses an overdose, and making medication assisted treatment (MAT) more available. Through the Moms United “Ask Mom How to Save a Life” campaign mothers are providing overdose prevention education, training and naloxone kits to prevent opioid overdose deaths.

We’re now losing more than 72,000 people a year to drug overdose deaths in the U.S. Yet, our government continues to employ a prohibitionist approach to drugs. The stigma associated with drug use allows these punitive tactics to prevail and prevents the adoption of innovative harm reduction strategies that can save lives.

Julia Negron, organizer of the Suncoast Harm Reduction Project in Florida (a project of A New PATH) states: “Now is the time to acknowledge the lives lost to overdose, and in their name make Naloxone available. I lost both my mother and sister to overdose and my son struggled for decades with addiction. There are too many roadblocks to recovery now: there’s no rehab is you’re dead.”  

“Naloxone saved my life 5 times. Today, my children have a mother! Today I help others in recovery transition to self-sufficiency and regain their lives and families,” said Maria Alexander, Center 4 Living and PATH LA.

Caroline Stewart, L.C.S.W., President of the Board of A New PATH says: “My son has struggled for years with addiction to heroin. He has experienced stigma, homelessness and incarceration. Now parents are reaching out the homeless community to distribute life-saving naloxone, because every life matters!”

Gretchen Burns Bergman, A New PATH Co-Founder &Lead Organizer of Moms United to End the War on Drugs: “As a mother of two sons who have struggled with heroin addiction, one of whom almost died of an accidental overdose, it is my right to have naloxone in my medicine cabinet.  Every moment counts in saving a precious life! We must reform our punitive prohibitionist drug laws in order to end these senseless tragedies”

Moms United to End the War on Drugs is an international campaign of A New PATH (Parents for Addiction Treatment and Healing). Moms are leading the charge to end the violence, mass arrest and incarceration and accidental overdose deaths that are the result of current punitive drug policies.

For More information:

Ask Mom How to Save a Life

Moms are taking action to save lives with a campaign for greater access to Naloxone to reverse an accidental opiate overdose. Video Source: Gretchen Bergman, YouTube


A Mother’s Day collaboration by Moms Stop the Harm (Canada), Moms United to End the War on Drugs (U.S.), and Red de Enlaces Nacionales (Mexico). Video Source: Gretchen Bergman, YouTube

International Overdose Awareness Day, started by the Salvation Army in Australia in 2001, is an opportunity for people around the world to publicly mourn loved ones without guilt or shame. Many participating countries also use this day to send a strong message to current and former drug users that their lives are valued and that no one should ever die from a preventable fatal drug overdose.

2019 International Overdose Awareness Events

San Diego, CA: (Aug 31 at 9:30-11am) A New PATH is holding a  community overdose prevention training and naloxone distribution and vigil to honor lives lost to overdose with a tree of Remembrance at Pioneer Park: 1425 Washington Place, San Diego, CA. Info: 619-670-1184

Los Angeles, CA: (Aug 28 at 3pm) Naloxone training at Cri-Help – 11027 Burbank Blvd. No. Hollywood, CA 91601. Sponsored by Center for Living & Learning, A New PATH LA, Ralphs Pharmacy and San Fernando Valley Partnership, Inc. Info: 818-442-0915.

Daly City, CA: (8/31/19 at 7pm) Overdose Awareness Night honoring life of Bobby Corona Gonzaba, Mussel Rock Park – Candlelight vigil, speakers, narcan training and memorial. Info:

Oceanside, CA: (8/31/19 – 6pm) GRASP holds an Overdose Awareness Day pier walk and memorial at City of Oceanside Pier Plaza and Pier. Info: 817-676-1304

Lansing: (8/27 – 7pm), Grand Rapids (8/28- 9am) & Traverse City, Michigan (8/29/19 – 7pm): The Fledge, Kent County Opiate Task Force, Northwestern Michigan College, and Harm Reduction Michigan present a movie, Bevel Up, and discussion for Overdose Awareness Day with speaker Caroline Brunt, Canadian Harm Reduction Nursing Assoc. For info: 231-493-5124, or

Melbourne, Fl.: (8/30/19 – 8am) Overdose Awareness workshop training people about Narcan and how to administer. For free narcan or info: 954-859-4696.

Manatee County, Fl.: (8/31/19 – 7pm) Overdose Awareness walk and candlelight vigil. Suncoast Harm Reduction Project. Info:

Nashville, Tennessee: (8/31/19 -11am) Overdose Awareness Day with keynote speakers Megan Barry and Dr. Stephen Loyd at Nashville Recovery Center. Wall of remembrance, naloxone training, lunch, music. For info:

Pittsburgh, PA: (8/30/19) – Trinity Cathedral, 328 Sixth St. – Coalition for Leadership, Education and Advocacy in Recovery (CLEAR) – Overdose Prevention Training, Prayer Service, Ringing of Bells in Memory of Overdosed in 2018. Info: 412-281-8362.

Atlanta, Georgia: (8/31/19) – 6:30pm Discussion on Georgia’s 911 medical amnesty and naloxone access laws, overdose prevention education, and candlelight vigil. Donations go towards purchase of naloxone. Event sponsored by Atlanta Harm Reduction Coalition, Georgia Overdose Prevention, Families for Sensible Drug Policy, Southeast Harm Reduction Project. (706) 867-9366.

Washington D.C.: (8/31/19 3:30ET) International Overdose Awareness radio call in show: 1-712-770-5390 code 419145. Raise awareness and reduce stigma of drug-related death.

 National Campaign: (Aug.26-31, 2019). Moms Stop the Harm (www.momsstoptheharm) are Moms United partners. Purple and silver ribbons will be displayed for all those lost to overdose, as a token of remembrance and symbols of ties that bind. Events, staged throughout Canada can be found here:



IBW21 (The Institute of the Black World 21st Century) is committed to enhancing the capacity of Black communities in the U.S. and globally to achieve cultural, social, economic and political equality and an enhanced quality of life for all marginalized people.