International Overdose Awareness Day

This Thursday, 31st August, 2023

Partners, family, and friends of a loved one living with addiction often suffer in silence. They spend much of their lives protecting, defending and justifying the behaviours of their loved one, to a community of people who seem unwilling to learn, understand or empathise...

The Unseen Struggle: Loving Someone with Addiction

With rose-coloured glasses on, many can look past the addiction and only see the person behind the disease; the infectious laugh, the charismatic personality, the never-give-up attitude. Without judgement, without blame, and without labels, they provide unconditional love and support with an everlasting hope that the person they once knew would return.

Grieving for a Life Lost

Partners, family, and friends of a loved one living with addiction start grieving well and truly before any type of death occurs. They grieve for the life being wasted in front of their eyes. They grieve for the experiences they could have shared together. They grieve for the harm and destruction caused by addiction’s path. They grieve for a missed opportunity to live a purposeful and meaningful life. 

But sometimes their worst nightmare comes true and they are forced to experience a different type of grief. A grief often shared with feelings of loneliness, guilt and shame. They grieve for their loved one, whose life has now been taken by overdose.

Thursday August 31st is International Overdose Awareness Day.

It is a day where we remember without stigma those who have died from overdose, a day to acknowledge the grief of the family and friends left behind, and a day to recognise people in our communities who are affected by overdose but might go unseen in the crisis, such as first responders.

If you’d like to join in an event, or post a tribute to someone you’ve lost to overdose, head to


“You act like I know nothing about it, but I know enough.
I know what it has done to you, I know what it’s done to us.
You’re no longer a real person, more like a puppet on a string.
Every single move you make is controlled by methamphetamine.
I just can’t seem to help you, can’t break you away.

I’ve tried to cut the strings so you could walk away.
But without this attachment, your so-called support,
Your body goes limp and collapses to the floor.
I can’t lift you up, you fall right back down.
Your body is like dead weight on the ground.
I wish I could pull you to safety so you could be free.
It’s so hard to watch you be a puppet on a string”

Part of a poem by Michelle. “Puppet On A String.” Family Friend Poems, Feb 2009

Article contributed by Shareece Canty. Shareece is a BUSY Health Rehabilitation Counsellor with experience in assisting those dealing with addiction within their personal and family lives. 

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