International Overdose Awareness Day 2023

August 31st is International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD), a global event held each year to raise awareness and end overdose, remember without stigma those who have died, and acknowledge the grief felt by families and friends left behind. Globally, events are held to rouse action and discussion about evidence-based overdose prevention and drug policy.

Unregulated drug toxicity is now the leading cause of death in British Columbia for people aged 10 to 59, accounting for more deaths than homicides, suicides, accidents and natural disease combined. More than 1,000 lives have been lost to the toxic unregulated drugs in first the five months of 2023 in BC. The lives of at least 12,300 British Columbians have been lost in the seven years since the public health emergency was first declared in April 2016.

This year, we mark International Overdose Awareness Day with a continued sense of grief, urgency, and hope that stigma and failed drug policy will become a thing of the past.

Throughout BC, events will be held leading up and on International Overdose Awareness Day. Please join in activities and actions near your community.

If you would like to add an event or update an event description, contact [email protected]


When: August 31, 11:00 – 3:00pm & 6:00 – 8.30pm
Where: Jubilee Park, 2552 McCallum Road

Reducing Overdose, Abbotsford Response (ROAR) invites the community to IOAD in Jubilee Park, 2552 McCallum Road, Thursday, August 31 from 11am to 3pm.

The event includes performances by Hoop Dancer – Sebastian Abbott; Undercover Band; Precarious Players; over a dozen community resource booths, on-site Naloxone training, guest speakers, open mic and more.

ROAR provides a free lunch with offerings from Phoenix Flame BBQ and J&R Bannock Wagon food trucks.

Click here for the event page


When: August 31, 1PM
Location: 6100 Willingdon Avenue, Burnaby, BC, Canada – Lawn at Civic Square at Burnaby Public Library

Burnaby Community Action Team and associates welcome you to join us in a day of remembrance, awareness, and education. We come together to honor those unseen who have been impacted by the toxic drug crisis. Today we are celebrating the strength of family members, friends, co-workers, acquaintances, and fellow community members who have lost someone to toxic drug poisoning.

On this day we come together to connect on our shared experiences surrounding the toxic drug crisis. We wish to invite the community of Burnaby to come and create dialogue about ways to support those in our community who use substances.

We acknowledge the achievements that have been made in regard to public safety but recognize that we have a long journey ahead of us. The BCAT is looking forward to meeting with you all in a safe space to discuss the impact of the toxic drug crisis.


When: August 31, 12pm-4pm
Where: 44680 Schweyey Rd, Chilliwack, BC

Family Friendly Event with community partners

Hosted by Shxwha:y Village in Partnership with the Chilliwack Community Action Team.


When: August 31, 6PM-8PM
Where: Castlegar Public Library & Amphitheater, 1005 3 St, Castlegar, BC V1N 2A2
Honouring those who have lost their lives to
Overdose and drug poisoning.

  • BBQ & refreshments
  • Crafts: Rock Painting, loved one’s names on purple heart garland…
  • Naloxone training & information plus more…
  • Healing Drum Circle … graciously supported by Indigenous community members.
  • Members from local area MSTH groups will be speaking of losing their
    loved one, Heather from Nelson, Darlene from Castlegar.
  • Candlelight Vigil & Prayers, honoring our loved ones by whispering their names we aid in keeping their memories alive. Flameless candles & Luminary Decorative bags loaned to us for the occasion.
  • Closing of event by holding of hands in a circle of unity with a moment of silence for those we have lost & those still suffering

Click here to view event poster


When: August 31st, at Simms Park in Courtenay, 12pm – 4pm.
Where: Simms Park in Courtenay, 50 5th St, Courtenay, BC V9N 3N7

Everyone welcome! Awesome live music including award-winning Canadian hip hop artist and mental health advocate, Sirreal!

Time to act. Time to remember. Time to advocate for change. Time to lift each other up! 💜

Hosted with love by the Comox Valley Community Action Team in partnership with Unbroken Chain, Indigenous Women’s Sharing Society and Moms Stop the Harm

Click here to view event poster

Dawson Creek

When: August 31, 6-8PM
Where: NBYCC – 10200 17 Street, Dawson Creek, BC

Hosted by the Dawson Creek Community Action Team

Join us for meaningful evening of community unity as we host a free BBQ and Candlelight Vigil. Let’s come together to remember and honor those we’ve lost to challenges of substance use, while also offering support and encouragement to those on their journey. Enjoy the BBQ, listen to those speaking about lost loved ones and connect with fellow community members.

As the sun sets, we’ll light candles in solidarity, symbolizing our commitment to raising awareness about substance abuse and ending the stigma. Your presence makes a difference, please join us. On-site support is available if needed as well as Free Nalaoxone Training.

Call 250-784-0061 for more information or to be a part of this event.

Click here to view event poster

Fort Nelson

When: August 31, 3PM
Where: : Fort Nelson Aboriginal Friendship Society (Picnic Ground), 5012 49 Ave, Fort Nelson, BC V0C 1R0

Please come and join us to raise awareness about the overdose crisis and support the initiatives being done to reduce harm and end overdose in Fort Nelson, BC. Sign the banner to show your support while enjoying good food, live music, and meaningful conversations.

BCEHS will be on-site to present and promote The Lifeguard Digital Health App.

Listen to the powerful voice of Mr. Timber Bigfoot as he sings his original songs.

Fentanyl test strips and naloxone kits will be available on-site.

Click here to view event poster

Fort Saint James

When: August 31, 5:30PM
Location: Kwah Hall, 101 Kwah Road, W Fort St. James BC

Begin at Kwah hall and walk toward downtown arriving at Spirit Square Park.
Bring photos of your loved one and wear purple or silver to promote awareness

Enjoy some information booths, face painting, commemorating and honoring lives lost with drumming and singing and an open mic session.


When: August 31, 7PM
Where: Paramount Theatre, 503 Victoria St, Kamloops, BC V2C 2B1

Join Addiction Matters Kamloops for a free film screening of Kimmapiiyipitssini: the Meaning of Empathy – everyone welcome
Naloxone Training
Candle Light Vigil

Click here to view event poster


When: August 31, 11am-2pm, 7pm
Where: Kerry Park, 1480 Mill St, Kelowna, BC

We are hosting a lunch and pamper event for the unhoused.
We will provide them with showers, haircuts, photos, new clothes and lunch at Metro Community from 11:00am until 2:00pm.

Join us at 7:00pm for our evening event at Kerry Park with music and Naloxone training, information from many service providers and then a candlelight vigil at the Sails – 9:30pm


When: August 31st, 12:30pm
Where: 107-480 City Centre – Foodshare/Day Shelter @ Douglas Place, Kitimat, BC

Hosted by Tamitik Status of Women. A walk to get together to support and remember and honor our loved ones. There will be a light meal provided after the walk along with guest speakers before. Arrive at 12:30pm walk at 1:00pm
Naloxone Training and Harm Reduction Information
Memorial Table

Click here to view event poster


When: August 31, 5pm-8:30pm
Where: Douglas Park – Spirit Square, 0550 Douglas Crescent #4B6, Langley, BC

  • 5pm Free Community BBQ
  • 5-7pm Resource Fair (Community agencies, recovery & harm reduction resources, naloxone training)
  • 6pm Welcome & Awareness walk (~1km through Langley City)
  • 7pm Stage Spotlight (Speakers, Lived experience stories, Indigenous Drummers, Live music performance & more).
  • 8:15pm Candelight vigil & memorial

Hosted by Mom Stop the Harm, with the theme for 2023, “Recognizing those people who go unseen,” we honor the people whose lives have been altered by overdose. They are the family and friends grieving the loss of a loved one; workers in healthcare and support services extending strength and compassion; or spontaneous first responders who selflessly assume the role of lifesaver. We would like to say to these people: #weseeyou.

Theirs are the voices we should amplify, and their strength and experience should be held up as examples to us all. Too often, however, they are left to bear the burden of this crisis alone and in silence.
This year on August 31, let’s acknowledge and support the people in our communities who go unrecognized by raising awareness of the hidden impacts of overdose, promoting education of overdose response and reaching out to politicians to make lasting, lifesaving policy changes.

Click here to view event poster

Maple Ridge

When: August 31st, 2:30PM-6:30PM
Where: Maple Ridge BC Memorial Peace Park, 11930 224 St, Maple Ridge, BC V2X 6A9

A Time to Remember, A Time to Support & A Time to Act

Join us in Memorial Peace Park on August 31 to commemorate IOAD.

Click here to view event poster


When: August 26, 11am-3PM
Where: Fraser River Heritage Park, 7494 Mary St, Mission, BC V2V 6Y9

Mission Overdose Community Action Team in partnership with the Mission Friendship Centre Society hosts Dragonfly Dreams – an event to honour our loves ones lost and imagine our society transformed, as the dragonfly represents, to end the unregulated drug crisis and the tragic, needless deaths of citizens to the senseless war on drugs.

Paint a dragonfly for the Make a Difference Remembrance Mandala
Music, Resources, Naloxone Training, Vendors
Free refreshments, activities for kids & adults.

Click here to view event poster


When: August 31st, 11AM – 2PM
Where: Maffeo Sutton Park (Swy-a-lana), 100 Comox Road, Downtown Nanaimo

On Thursday August 31st, we invite you to gather in community, in memorial & in protest for International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD) at Maffeo Sutton Park in Downtown Nanaimo 💜
Join us to share food, connect with others of like-minds & warm hearts, hear from folks with lived and living experiences in our community, heal through art, and explore our harm reduction Resource Village.

11am – noon: Gather and share food
12pm: Opening by Snuneymuxw Elder Lolly Good, followed by CAT & community speakers, and closing song from Patrick Aleck

Throughout the event, community members are invited to connect, attend the Resource Village, and join in on the Grief-Loss-Art Therapy Vigil.

Safe consumption services will be available

Click here to view event poster


When: August 31st, 12:30pm – 2pm
Where: Lakeside Park Rotary Shelter, 910 Second Street, Nelson, BC

Hosted by Nelson Fentanyl Task Force. This is an opportunity to come together to honor those who have died due to drug poisoning or drug harms, to advocate for more healthcare resources, and to learn about all our services available here in the Kootenays. Speeches at 1pm. Our thanks to all the wonderful service providers, first responders, healthcare workers, and others who support people in our region around substance use/addictions care. Let’s keep working to improve care, educate, reduce stigma, and bring more resources here for our local community.

Click here to view event poster

New Westminster

When: August 31, 8:30-12PM
Where: Moody Park, 600 Eighth Street New Westminster, BC V3M 3S2

Hosted by Lower Mainland Purpose Society, join us this International Overdose Awareness Day in our attempt to set a world record for the largest Naloxone training session. Bring a friend, and learn to save a life.

This event takes place rain-or-shine (bring a blanket or chair to sit on!) at Moody Park’s South Lawn. The entire event, training, and materials are all FREE, but please register your attendance through the Eventbrite link.

Please arrive between 8:30 – 9:15 AM, the training session begins at 9:30 AM.

8:30 – 9:15 AM – Participant Arrival and Check-in
9:30 – 10:30 AM – Naloxone Training Session
10:30 AM – 12:00 PM – Event Wrap-up

Please come show your support, even if you’ve been trained once or multiple times.

Register here


When: August 30th. 11AM- 8PM, August 31st, 6-8PM
Where: Oliver Parks and Recreation field, 6359 Park Dr, Oliver, BC V0H 1T0

We Will Recover Society is hosting International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD) event on Aug. 31st at the Oliver Parks and Recreation field.

In honor of the many grieving families, we asking seeking compassionate neighbors, friend, and others who have been impacted by mental health or addiction, and any other caring artists in the community to help us paint a “memory photo box” for anonymous gifting to the bereaved families who participate in this important day and event.

We will supply the materials and deeply appreciate your help and support. We also wish to invite other agencies, service providers or others who have any wellness services or supports to offer to come join us in this event.

We Will Recover is raising our tipi to raise awareness and hope for recovery. We invite and encourage all members of the community to come out and participate, learn, and support this most important cause.

Schedule of Events:

Aug. 30
11am – Tipi will be raised, followed by prayers & smudge

11:15am – 12:15pm – Street decoration with purple ribbons

12:30pm – 1:30pm – LUNCH

1:30pm – 5:00pm
Painting in the park (we will be supplying paint and photo memory boxes to be painted and anonymously gifted to bereaved families and friends). Other crafts: beaded bracelets, rock painting, photoframe painting, feather painting, etc)
-All day music, resources and information, harm reduction information, tools and training, Narcan/Naloxone training & distribution

7:00pm – 8:00pm – Peer-led Family Support Group Meeting (in the tipi) for those with loved ones who use or used substances.


Aug. 31st International Overdose Awareness Day

Join us from 10am – 5pm to hear guest speakers, gather resources, paint a purple handprint on the tipi in honor of your lost loved one, and all bereaved families will receive a painted photo memory box.

6:00pm – 7:00pm – Candlelight memorial walk in the park

7:30pm – Candlight memorial & moment of silence


Click here to view event poster


When: August 31st, 1-5PM, 7PM
Where: Parksville Community Centre, 223 Mills St, Parksville, BC V9P 2N5

Hosted by Moms Stop the Harm and the Oceanside Community Action Team (OCAT). Gather at the Parksville Community Centre on Mills St for Naloxone training, harm reduction education, engaging the public, speakers.
We will be there with our posters & purple chairs.

At 7 pm, we will have a Candlelight Vigil of Remembrance at the Parksville Community Park at the picnic shelter.

Click here to view event poster

Port Alberni

When: August 31st, 12PM-6PM
Where: Echo Centre – 4255 Wallace Street in Port Alberni

Hosted by the Port Alberni Community Action Team.

We’re honored to host guest speaker Guy Felicella (Keynote Q & A 3pm to 6pm), sharing insights and hope. Together, we remember and strive for change.

Click here to view event poster


When: August 31, 12PM
Where: Lhtako Dene Park, 160 Front St, Quesnel, BC V2J 2K1

Hosted by Coalition of Substance Users of the North (CSUN), Quesnel Shelter & Support Society, and First Nations Health Authority. Join us for a community lunch, Narcan training/education, sacred fire, smudging, drumming, remembrance, and more. We will be honoring all those who are impacted by failed drug policy and the unseen heroes of the drug poisoning crisis (first responders, families/friends/loved ones, harm reduction workers, healthcare workers).


When: August 31st, 10AM
Where: Snickett Park, Shorncliffe Ave, Sechelt, BC V0N 3A0

Sunshine Coast Mental Health & Substance Use Services at Vancouver Coastal Health will bring awareness and prevention messaging about substance use to the public.

Life-saving naloxone training will be offered to participants throughout this event at Snickett Park in Sechelt.


When: August 31, 5pm
Where: At the Kiosk and roundabout between the two malls in Sooke town center.

Sooke 2nd annual International Overdose Awareness Day

Land acknowledgment from T’Souke First Nations, speech by the mayor, speech by first responder, music and speeches intermixed with candle light vigil at the end. Four tents will be erected for naloxone training, food, information and resources as well as music.

Contact: Ben Goerner
Email: [email protected]


When: August 31st, 11 am – 2:00 pm
Where: Holland Park, 13428 Old Yale Rd, Surrey, BC

International Overdose Awareness Day is the world’s annual campaign to end overdose, remember without stigma those who have died, and acknowledge the grief of the family and friends.
Many service agencies will be present to share their resources. Including the following

  • Overdose outreach teams
  • Narcan training
  • Free pet supplies
  • Free haircuts
  • Massages and exercise classes for front line staff
  • Free household supplies and personal care kits
  • Peer connections and network
  • Housing, Identification and family services


When: August 31, 11am-3pm
Where: George Little Park, 4633-4603 Park Ave, Terrace, BC

The day will include a land acknowledgement, drumming circle, BBQ lunch, and 50/50 draw. Activities include rock painting, Naloxone training, story sharing, a smudge tent, and medicine making. Jolene Prince will be offering an eagle fanning ceremony for anyone in need of healing. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Click here to view event poster


When: August 31, 11am – 4pm
Where: Kitsilano Beach Public Tennis Courts, Arbutus St, Vancouver, BC V6J 5N2

Hosted by Moms Stop the Harm. On August 31 at 11, meet at the tennis courts at Kits Beach.

  • PURPLE RIBBONS OF AWARENESS-tying large purple ribbons with photos along posts and trees in the beach area.
  • MEMORIAL LABYRINTH- “Tu me manques” “You Are Missing from Me”- Walk the labyrinth by following the photos of those we have lost.
  • RIDER-LESS LOCK BIKE-One less rider- bring a lock or purchase one to add to the moveable memorial
  • PROGRAMME OF SPEAKERS-Program begins at 2PM

When: August 31, 1pm – 6pm
Where: VANDU 380 East Hastings, 2-6 Oppenheimer Park (400 Powell)

Organized by the Coalition of Peer Dismantling the Drug War (CPDDW), the Vancouver Network of Drug Users (VANDU) and the Western Aboriginal Harm Reduction Society (WAHRS) A celebration of resilience honouring the struggle of the drug user liberation movement.

12:30 – Meet outside VANDU
1-2 – March to Oppenheimer Park
2-3 – WAHRS Blanketing Ceremony
3-6 Celebration of Resilience & BBQ

Click here to view event poster


When: August 31st, 5PM
Where: The Vernon Towne Theatre 2910 30th Ave, Vernon, BC V1T 2B7

A screening of the Film LOVE IN THE TIME OF FENTANYL will take place at the Towne Theatre in Vernon downtown. Doors will open at 5pm for Naloxone Training (free kits provided) will be offered to anyone who is interested. The film screening will be followed by a panel discussion Q&A with people who have been directly affected by the Toxic Drug Crisis.

On International Overdose Awareness Day, this event will be a fundraiser to support the Vernon Entrenched People Against Discrimination (VEPAD), a Peer-lead grassroots organization that is leading the fight against Toxic Drugs in Vernon BC.


Click here for event page


When: August 31, 7:00 PM
Where: First Metropolitan United Church – 932 Balmoral Road, Victoria, BC

Honouring those who have lost their lives to overdose and drug poisoning.
An evening gathering of music, speakers, and candlelight to provide healing and support for those who have been affected by overdose and toxic drug poisoning. All are welcome to our event – friends, family, service providers, and individuals wanting to connect. This is not a religious gathering. All philosophies of life are equally respected.
Refreshments and conversation to follow.

Click here to view event poster

White Rock

When: August 31st, Starts at 5:00pm
Where: Memorial Park along White Rock beach.

Organized by Tides of Change. Come Join Us on August 31st, 2023 @5pm at Memorial Park along White Rock beach.

5:00pm – Opening Ceremony by Semiahmoo First Nations & sharing
stories from people with lived/living experience
6:00pm – March on White Rock Promenade & Food
7:00pm to 8:00pm – Resource Tables & Naloxone Training
8:00pm Candlelight Memorial & Lighting of Pier Lights Purple

Williams Lake

When: August 31st, 111AM – 3PM
Where: Front of Boitanio Park, Borland St. &, 7 Ave N, Williams Lake, BC V2G 1N1

Hosted by the Williams Lake Community Action Team. On Secwepemc Territory. A day to remember & honor our loved ones lost to the toxic drug supply/ overdose crisis. We will have a traditional opening ceremony, followed by peers sharing their stories, performances by local & visiting artists, with local & visiting food vendors. Opportunity to access a memorial tree, memorial rock painting, smudging by elders, naloxone training & access to harm reduction education.