Volume XV, Issue VI - August 2021

From:  David T. Jones, Director
Division of Substance Use Prevention and Recovery

International Overdose Awareness Day and National Recovery Month 2021

The Illinois Department of Human Services/Division of Substance Use Prevention and Recovery (IDHS/SUPR) invites all Illinois residents to participate in local International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD) and National Recovery Month (September) events.

IOAD is recognized worldwide and aims to raise awareness about drug overdose and reduce the stigma associated with substance use-related deaths. In 2020, we lost more than 2,900 residents to overdose. Their deaths leave a hole in the lives of their loved ones and in their communities. People dying of an overdose are parents, children, siblings, significant others, and friends. Their lives should be remembered and not hidden due to stigma. IOAD is a chance to remember them and support solutions to prevent overdose deaths in the future. It is important for us, friends, families, and communities to grieve those Illinoisans that we have lost to drug overdose and bring awareness to the continuing crisis claiming lives.

IDHS/SUPR also recognizes that many residents are in recovery from substance use disorders and mental health conditions, and the importance of celebrating their lives and recognizing that recovery is possible, #RecoveryBelongs. Illinois residents are encouraged to stand with nearly 13,000 IDHS staff on August 31st and the month of September to raise awareness for recovery by wearing purple.

IOAD leads directly into National Recovery Month in September. Faces and Voices of Recovery announced this year's theme as "Recovery is For Everyone: Every Person, Every Family, Every Community" National Recovery Month informs people about mental and substance use disorders and effective treatment and recovery support options for people with these conditions. National Recovery Month is a time to recognize the gains made by people in recovery and show appreciation for the dedicated service providers who help people pursuing recovery.

These events provide an opportunity to honor the lives of people who have died from a drug overdose, celebrate the lives of people in recovery and raise awareness about the tools we have to reduce the harms of substance use.

IDHS/SUPR encourages organizations to spread the message that drug overdose death is preventable, treatment works, and recovery is possible. To help do so, IDHS will encourage its staff to wear purple on August 31st and throughout the month of September to raise awareness about IOAD and National Recovery Month.

IDHS/SUPR continues to promote and implement strategies to reduce the harmful effects of substance use in Illinois. Since 2015, over 79,000 people in Illinois have been trained to recognize and respond to an opioid overdose through organizations enrolled in our Drug Overdose Prevention Program (DOPP). The groups enrolled in the program have been responsible for over 5,900 overdose reversals. In state fiscal year 20 alone, SUPR also funded treatment services for over 50,704 people across the state who were seeking recovery from substance use disorders.

To learn more about International Overdose Awareness Day and National Recovery Month, including where to find additional materials and how to promote your organization's events, please visit our International Overdose Awareness Day webpage. If your organization plans to use social media as part of your events, please tag @ILHelpline and add #RecoveryBelongs to any of your posts. Recovery belongs in Illinois.