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Local Partners Acknowledge International Overdose Awareness Day on August 31st

Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

Perth County –  International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD) is a global event held on August 31st each year that aims to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of drug-related deaths. It also acknowledges the grief felt by families and friends remembering those who have died or experienced permanent injury as a result of drug overdose.

The Perth District Health Unit, along with Choices for Change are working hard to make a difference for those affected by drug misuse and who are at risk of drug overdose. The Health Unit offers harm reduction services and Choices for Change provides comprehensive and innovative addiction services including counseling and support. “Our motto is that ‘change is possible’ and we believe that raising awareness about overdose will help reduce the risk and help those already affected” says Catherine Hardman, Executive Director at Choices for Change.

Health Unit Public Health Manager Jacqui Tam expands upon this and explains: “People have suffered from substance addictions for centuries. Our harm reduction program aims to decrease the harms related to drug use through education, prevention and treatment. The harm reduction approach has many benefits for people who use substances, their families, and communities, including making it as easy as possible for people who use substances to access the services they need.”

The Health Unit’s free harm reduction services include access to clean needles, syringes, safer inhalation supplies and naloxone training. Naloxone (or Narcan) is a medication that can stop an overdose and several doses have been given effectively in Perth County since the program began last fall. Recently, The Health Unit also installed two Community Sharps Disposal Kiosks in Stratford. The purpose of these kiosks is to promote community safety, and reduce the risk of injury and infection by providing 24 hour, seven day a week access to safe needle and sharp disposal.


  • There are two kiosks:
    1. Erie Street Parking Lot (in behind Festival Square building)
    2. West Gore Parking Lot (next to portable, back of lower parking lot, Perth District Health Unit building, 653 West Gore Street)
  • Kiosks will accept needles, syringes individually or in approved containers such as a Biohazard container, bleach bottle, pop bottle, under 4.5 litre in size.

For more information:

  • To learn more about our harm reduction program, call 519-271-7600 or toll-free at 1-877-271-7348 extension 267.
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