Prescription Drug Abuse

International Overdose Awareness Day: Rethink and Remember

International Overdose Awareness Day is a global event held Aug. 31 each year to raise awareness about drug overdose, remember those who have lost their lives to drug overdose and recognize the grief and loss experienced by their families, friends and loved ones.

National Safety Council is working with a team of Illinois survivor advocates and local grassroots organizations to host the 2015 Illinois Rally near our headquarters in Chicago from 1 to 3 p.m. Aug. 31. It will be one of the larger events planned in the United States. Visit our event page for details.

You can also help us tweet events from around the world. Follow @NSCsafety and use #OD15, #overdose, #naloxone and the phrase Overdose Awareness Day.

The theme for 2015 is "Rethink and Remember."

  • How Big is the Prescription Painkiller Problem?


    • Among people 35 to 54 years old, unintentional drug overdoses cause more deaths than motor vehicle crashes.
    • More than 70 percent of people who abused prescription pain relievers report getting them from friends or relatives.
    • In 2010, more than 400,000 emergency room visits were made related to prescription pain relievers.
    • Nonmedical use of prescription painkillers costs health insurers up to $72.5 billion annually in direct health care costs.
  • What are Opioids?


    Opioid painkillers contain morphine and codeine. Like heroin, they derive from the poppy plant. People may think opioids are the best way to treat pain, but we know other, non-addictive medicines are just as effective. Learn more.
  • Prescription Painkillers are Gateway Drugs to Heroin


    ​Four out of five new heroin users started by misusing prescription painkillers. About 4-6 percent of prescription painkiller abusers will transition to heroin use. Learn how one high school athlete's addiction path ultimately ended in tragedy.

Make Your Workplace Opioid Free

Employee use of prescription painkillers threatens employees' safety and your bottom line.

Download the Kit

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Prescription Painkiller Abuse: The Worst Drug Epidemic



America’s most fatally abused drug is legal and sitting in the medicine cabinet. Understand the risks and how to prevent deaths and injuries associated with prescription drug abuse.

  • Get the Latest Information on Opioids

    Receive email updates on preventing prescription drug misuse and overdose. Learn how you can join this initiative to save lives.

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