August 30, 2023

International Overdose Awareness Day: Bringing Awareness to the Impact of Opioids

Services and programs are available from Human Services for opioid treatment and recovery.
Convention Center tower lit purple for Overdose Awareness Day

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, nearly 75% of overdoses in 2020 involved an opioid. In 2021, 2,669 Virginians died of an opioid overdose, almost double the number from 2016.This highlights the urgent need to raise awareness about the impact of opioids and overdose, and what opportunities exist to receive help and treatment.

International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD) is a global event held on Aug. 31 each year since 2001 to raise awareness of overdoses. It aims to reduce the stigma around drug-related deaths and acknowledge the grief felt by families. This year’s theme is “Recognizing those people who go unseen,” which acknowledges people in our communities affected by overdose but might go unseen in the crisis.

To help spread awareness and in observance of International Overdose Awareness Day, the City of Virginia Beach plans to illuminate Building 30 at the Municipal Center, Virginia Beach Convention Center and the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center in the symbolic color purple on Thursday, Aug. 31.

The Virginia Beach Department of Human Services is actively engaged in offering community support during this crisis. The department is hosting a public Opioid Abatement Town Hall at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 31, at the Virginia Beach Convention Center, 1000 19th St., in meeting hall 1.

This event seeks community feedback on how to enhance a wide range of service options with the opioid abatement funds that have been allocated to the City of Virginia Beach from the settlements with prescription opioid manufacturers and distributors.

Human Services has a number of ongoing programs including recovery and treatment services, such as Restore, which is the office-based addiction treatment (OBAT) program and Adult Outpatient Services. In addition, the new Pathways Center will offer a peer drop-in center, substance abuse intensive outpatient program (SAIOP) and enhanced substance use outpatient services.

Other services include the State Opioid Response (SOR) Program, a grant used to fund medications to treat opioid use disorder, such as Methadone, Suboxone, and Vivitrol. The SOR peer recovery services program provides harm reduction tools, including Narcan, to reverse opioid overdoses and fentanyl test strips. Peers share lived experiences, give hope, provide education and resources, and provide advocacy.

Resources are also available to assist uninsured individuals with funding for withdrawal management and substance abuse residential services and also funding to support individuals seeking sober living housing supports.

More information about programs and services offered by the Department of Human Services can be found online.

Following the town hall on Aug. 31, Human Services is offering multiple opportunities for residents to share their thoughts on what services and programs should be kept, enhanced or added to serve our community. Learn more and participate in the upcoming survey at

Contact Information

Virginia Beach Department of Human Services

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