Wear Purple to mark International Overdose Awareness Day

Press Release

24 August 2023

August 31 is International Overdose Awareness Day. Each year, events are held around the world to raise awareness about overdose, remember without stigma those who have died, and acknowledge the grief of family and friends left behind.

An overdose happens when a toxic amount of a drug, or combination of drugs, (including alcohol), overwhelms the body. All drugs, including prescribed medication, can cause an overdose. It is important to only take prescription medication that has been prescribed to you, follow the directions on prescriptions and over-the-counter drug labels, and listen to any instructions from healthcare providers.

This year, show your support by wearing the colour purple as a reminder that every life is precious and to promote open and honest dialogue about problematic substance use. An overdose can happen to anyone. Healthy conversation and accurate information about substance use can save lives.

If you believe you or someone you know may be experiencing an overdose, contact emergency services or go to your local health centre or hospital immediately. If you think someone may have used or swallowed opioids such as fentanyl, health centres and hospitals are equipped with the antidote Naloxone. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance use, support is available. You can call or visit your health centre, talk to a trusted friend, family member or Elder.

If you or someone you know is struggling, please remember that you are not alone. It is OK to ask for help.

For confidential support, contact, you can contact:


  • Healing by Talking Program.
    • Offers virtual, long-term counselling services to Inuit across the territory.
    • Visit your local Health Centre for more information or email healing@gov.nu.ca or call toll-free at 1-888-648-0070 or (867) 975-5367.
  • Isaksimagit Inuusirmi Kataujjiqatigiit Embrace Life Council.
    • Call 1-866-804-2782.
    • Email embracelife@inuusiq.com.
    • Visit the website www.inuusiq.com for more information and support.
  • GN Employee/Family Assistance Program.
    • 1-800-663-1142

Help Lines and Online Chat

  • The Nunavut Kamatsiaqtut Help Line (available 24 hours a day, seven days a week).
    • Call 867-979-3333 or toll free at 1-800-265-3333.
  • Crisis Services Canada.
    • Call or text 1-833-456-4566.
    • Online chat available at www.crisisservicescanada.ca.
  • Youthspace.ca.
    • Call 1-833-456-4566-Text 778-783-0177.
    • Online chat available at www.youthspace.ca.
    • Email counselling is available by calling toll free at 1-866-478-8357.
  • Kids Help Phone.
    • Call 1-800-668-6868.
    • Live chat available at kidshelpphone.ca
    • Text ‘CONNECT’ to 686868 to message with a trained volunteer.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the RCMP, or go to your local health centre or hospital immediately.


Media Contact:

Pierre Essoh
Communications Specialist
Department of Health


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