Top of Virginia Community Celebrates International Overdose Awareness Day, Aug. 31

Published Date: Aug 1, 2023

Winchester, Virginia [July 24, 2023] – The Northern Shenandoah Valley Substance Abuse Coalition (NSVSAC) will host an International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD) event on Thursday, August 31, from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., on the steps and lawn of the Shenandoah Valley Civil War Museum in Old Town Winchester. The evening will include bestselling author, recovery coach and attorney Stephen Hill, founder of Speak Sobriety, who will share his own recovery story from 7 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

With the theme of “Recognizing Those People Who Go Unseen,” the event will include a bell ringing to signify each community member who has died of an overdose this year and culminate with a solemn candlelight remembrance ceremony.

In 2022, 31 people died of an overdose in the Northwest Virginia Region. This year, 13 people have lost their lives to overdose.

“International Overdose Awareness Day provides an opportunity to come together to shed light on the devastating effects of substance abuse and addiction,” said Allison Dillow, executive director of the Northern Shenandoah Valley Substance Abuse Coalition. “Overdose touches people in our community in many ways. The event creates a safe space for education, remembrance, and healing, and empowers individuals and families with the knowledge and tools they need to support their loved ones and prevent further tragedies.”

Local health organizations and support groups will be on hand to offer resources, assistance, and information about treatment centers, counseling services, harm reduction programs, and peer support networks. Northwestern Community Services Board will provide RAPID REVIVE! training. By fostering a robust network of care, the event will connect participants with the necessary support systems for recovery and healing.

“This event is a powerful demonstration of unity, compassion, and action,” said Dillow. “By collectively addressing the overdose crisis, increasing awareness, and providing support, we work together to create a healthier and more compassionate community.”

International Overdose Awareness Day was initiated in 2001 by Sally J. Finn at The Salvation Army in St. Kilda, Melbourne. Since then, many communities worldwide as well as government and non-government organizations have held events to raise awareness about overdose, commemorate those lost to addiction, and advocate for a compassionate approach to substance abuse. Since 2012, International Overdose Awareness Day has been convened by the Pennington Institute, a non-profit Australian public health organization.

The event is being held in partnership with the Northwestern Community Services Board. Partlow Insurance, Independent Erie Insurance Provider is sponsoring the event.


ABOUT NSVSAC: The Northern Shenandoah Valley Substance Abuse Coalition collaborates with community partners to take the lead in identifying and developing effective resources to ensure that the necessary continuum of care for substance use and addiction services is available to all members of the community in the greater Winchester, Virginia, area. Formed in 2014, the Coalition and its public and private sector partners have worked to compassionately reduce the stigma of addiction, improve access to substance use treatment services and decrease the number of overdoses to combat the opioid epidemic in Virginia.
To learn more, visit or the NSVSAC Facebook page, or contact Allison Dillow at [email protected] or (540) 536-5000.


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