Applications for 2024 International Overdose Awareness Day Grants Now Open

Press Release

Jun 25,2024

In 2016, BC declared a public health emergency in response to the toxic drug poisoning crisis. Since that time, a continuous flow of toxic and unpredictable supply of drugs have flooded the unregulated drug market leading to unprecedented drug poisoning events and deaths. This has been especially harmful to First Nations people.

Toxic drugs do not just impact people who use substances regularly. First-time or recreational users are at the same risk and can die from the poisonous supply. These are our mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, children and friends. Every day we are losing more people.

Each year, on Aug. 31, we observe International Overdose Awareness Day, the world’s largest annual campaign to end overdose, to remember without stigma those who have died and acknowledge the grief of the family and friends left behind. It is a time to remember but also a time to act to prevent future drug poisonings.

The FNHA is offering community-based grants of $2,000 for First Nation communities and First Nations health service organizations that provide wellness and harm reduction services to First Nations people in BC to hold an event, gathering or ceremony on or around Aug. 31, 2024. Applications from First Nations communities, First Nations health service organizations, and First Nations-led organizations will be prioritized for funding. These grants are intended to hold up the good work needed to honour these lives lost, encourage conversations, remove stigma and remember the stories.

Grant funds are intended to support an event, gathering or ceremony that reflects the unique needs of your community or group as it relates to the toxic drug emergency. Some ideas for the day could include, but are not limited to:

  • Grief supports or circles
  • Education sessions/speakers
  • Community meal with guest speakers
  • Ceremony
  • A commemorative space or design (e.g.: mural, carving, plaque, sculpture, a garden space)
  • Community event where everyone is welcomed together in a safe space
  • How to use naloxone trainings
  • Cultural gathering to share teachings
  • Create and share medicine bundles
  • Candle light vigil
  • Collage of videos and pictures of those who have died
  • Designate a space for a memorial
  • Harm reduction conversations

How to Apply​

  • Download the application form (click ‘Fill & Sign’ in the pdf to complete the form electronically), and email to

If you’re having difficulty filling out the PDF, you can email for further assistance.

​Deadline for applications is Monday, July 15, 2024 by 4:00 p.m.​​

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Who can apply for the IOAD Grants?

The funding applications for an IOAD Grant must be received from: (1) First Nations, including First Nations Community/Band/Village Council.  (2) A First Nations Health Service Organization or (3) an organization or agency that serves First Nations People and is a registered society, or (4) a correctional institution. Applications from First Nations communities and First Nations Health Service Organizations, will be prioritized for funding.

2. Can an individual apply for a grant?

No. The funds cannot be distributed to an individual. The FNHA encourages people with an idea or concept to connect with a group that meets the criteria described in question one.

For example: if you are a local peer or drug user group who wants to support a First Nations-led event to honour those who passed away from toxic drugs, this may be an opportunity to work with a local First Nations community or First Nations health service provider.

3. When can the event or initiative take place?

The FNHA recommends the event or initiative take place on August 31 in honour of International Overdose Awareness Day. However, the event or initiative can take place anywhere between August 20 to September 30, 2024.

If you are looking to hold an event or initiative outside this timeframe, please contact

4. Can I use the funds for an Elder or Person with Lived and Living Experience (PWLLE) honourarium?

Yes. The funds can be used to provide an honourarium to an Elder or PWLLE for their services. Funds may not be used for the following: (1)prize money, (2) the purchase of alcohol, or (3) illegal purchases. The grant funds may be used for other forms of prizes, including gift cards.

5. Who can I contact for more help or to answer other questions?

Team members are available to answer any questions by email at


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