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Public Health - News

Posted on: August 26, 2021

JCPH Encourages Residents to Observe International Overdose Awareness Day on August 31

Virtual 5k for International Overdose Awareness Day.PNG

Jefferson County, Colo. – International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD) is August 31, 2021, and Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) encourages residents to get involved. IOAD is an annual observance focused on raising awareness and reducing stigma around overdose, remembering those who have died or suffered permanent injury because of drug overdose and stimulating discussion about overdose prevention and harm reduction.

“This day is observed around the world, and we are offering several ways for people who live in Jeffco to play a part in some way,” said Michael Miller, JCPH. “It’s an important opportunity to pause and remember those we’ve lost, while also looking ahead at ways we can prevent overdose for others in our Jeffco community.”

According to our most recent data, between 2019 and 2020, the number of drug-related overdose deaths in Jefferson County rose from 98 to 156 – over a 50% increase. Additionally, between 2019 and 2020, the total number of hospital admissions for drug-related overdoses was 891. Unfortunately, overdoses continue to surge in our community despite progress in reigning in opioid prescribing, as we’ve seen a steady decrease in opioid prescriptions from 488,126 prescriptions in 2015 to 336,410 in 2019. 

JCPH, the Points West Syringe Service Program and the Jefferson County Substance Use Partnership offer several ways to get involved:

  • People across the county can participate in a “Virtual 5K” event in observance of IOAD. If people want to help raise awareness, remember a loved one or help fight the stigma surrounding overdose, they can participate in our Virtual 5K by signing up at this form. It is free to participate, and people can run, walk, bike, hike or move in any way that suits them anytime between August 22-31. Share the event with your networks and gather your friends, family and neighbors to have some fun and help achieve change in Jefferson County and worldwide.
  • People can also wear the International Overdose Awareness Day symbol – a purple ribbon – to show support. 
  • Encourage your friends and family to visit to review resources and information, as well as have conversations about what you’ve learned to spread the message that overdose is a problem affecting every community including Jefferson County.
  • If you use social media, use the hashtags #OverdoseAware and #EndOverdose to follow the conversation and help boost awareness.

“We really encourage people in our community to think differently about drug overdose. No community is immune — it touches every type of person in our county regardless of age, income, race or gender,” Miller said. “Unfortunately, data show overdose is increasingly affecting communities across Colorado, including Jefferson County.”

IOAD is also an opportunity to consider whether current overdose and substance use strategies are working. Communities across the county are utilizing strategies to prevent and respond to overdose. We know the best outcomes result from collaboration between partners across the county including public health, law enforcement, substance use treatment, harm reduction and human services, but the most important people in that collaboration are our community members. If you would like to explore more ways to join JCPH in this effort, visit the Jefferson County Substance Use Partnership website at  

To find out more about International Overdose Awareness Day, visit:

About Jefferson County Public Health 

Public health is what we do collectively to prevent illness and premature death and promote health in our neighborhoods and communities. Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) is a nationally accredited health department committed to promoting and protecting health across the lifespan for all people through prevention, education and partnerships. To learn more about JCPH visit You can also follow JCPH on Twitter @JeffcoPH, Instagram @JeffcoPH and Facebook @jeffcopublichealth.


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