Vol. 19, ed. 3

September 2022

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The August–September period has always been a busy time for Penington Institute, and 2022 is no exception. As the coordinator of International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD), much of our work throughout the year is building toward August 31st. Along with Australia’s Annual Overdose Report 2022, this year we have also created for the first time a Global Overdose Snapshot.

For the second year running, US President Joe Biden issued a proclamation making Overdose Awareness Day an official US national day. Remember that IOAD started as a small community event in Melbourne: that it has been embraced by so many and reached the attention of the world’s most powerful leaders is a good indicator of the enormity of the crisis. It is also a testament to the size of our global community and its tenacity in bringing overdose out of the shadows.

It feels fitting that for this issue we are shining a light on a topic that is frequently marginalised even within broader discussions of overdose. We have known for years that accidental drug-induced deaths occur far more often in men than in women, but few seem concerned to ask why. Whether this silence is due to the emotionally charged subject matter or the bewildering complexity of the data, it is a question that all too often gets relegated to the ‘too hard’ basket.

This issue also includes a Q&A with Kirsten Horsburgh, Director of Operations at Scottish Drugs Forum and an indomitable force in the world of harm reduction. Next is an overview of the rollout of Australia’s national Take Home Naloxone program, and Katie Horneshaw provides an update on Australia’s commitment to eliminate hepatitis C by 2030.

On behalf of Penington Institute, I want to extend our thanks to everyone who has participated in IOAD this year. Penington Institute serves as the primary convenor of IOAD, but it is not ours alone. Thousands come together every year to remember without stigma the lives lost to overdose and demand action from those in power. IOAD has always belonged to them.

John Ryan,
CEO, Penington Institute


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