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HSE launches online resources and supports to mark International Overdose Awareness Day

Over 370 people lose their lives in Ireland from drug overdose every year.

Image: Shutterstock/Anastasika Yar

THE HSE ALONG with a number of other state agencies is today launching a new range of online resources to make International Overdose Awareness Day. 

The HSE, the Department of Health, and the Union of Students in Ireland will also host a virtual event to commemorate those who have died or suffered permanent injury due to drug overdose as well as to raise awareness of current overdose concerns.

The event seeks to create better understanding of overdose, reduce the stigma of drug-related deaths, and create change that reduces the harms associated with drug use.

Frank Feighan, the junior minister with responsibility for the National Drugs Strategy, said he hopes the resources and awareness created on International Overdose Awareness Day will reverse the increasing number of deaths associated with overdose every year. 

“The high number of deaths arising due to drug overdose every year, highlights clearly just how important a health-led approach to drug misuse is, that treats the use of substances as a public health issue, rather than solely as a criminal issue, so that we can better help individuals, families and communities,” he said. 

“I am deeply saddened that over 370 people are losing their lives every year in this country from drug overdose.

“This number is compounded when you think of the grief and devastation caused to families and communities and of the wider costs to society. These overdose deaths can be prevented through effective public health intervention and through harm reduction measures targeted at high risk groups.”

Meanwhile, HSE Clinical Lead for Addiction Services, Dr Eamon Keenan said he hopes to raise awareness for the number of ‘new’ or ‘fake’ benzodiazepines in circulation across Europe and Ireland. 

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“International Overdose Awareness Day provides us with an opportunity each year to remember, reflect and produce an action in relation to the issue of drug overdose,” he said.

“This year we particularly want to highlight the emergence of ‘new’ or ‘fake’ benzodiazepines both across Europe and here in Ireland.

“These emerging drugs carry significant risks in terms of contamination and overdose. We have developed new resources which we are launching here today to inform and advise people on the risks associated with these drugs.”

The HSE resources are available at Drugs.ie.

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