International Overdose Awareness Day  is a global event held on 31 August each year to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of drug-related death. It acknowledges the grief felt by families and friends remembering those who have died or had a permanent injury as a result of drug overdose. Thousands of people die each year from drug overdose, they come from all walks of life. International Overdose Awareness Day spreads the message that the tragedy of overdose death is preventable.

Overdose Awareness Day Live is a collective of UK addiction recovery arts organisations who work together to deliver pop-up performances across the country on 31st August each year to commemorate International Overdose Awareness Day.


In 2021 we expanded even further and created a film in seven cities with a collective of eleven recovery organisations. With artistic direction from small performance adventures, we commissioned an original piece of music from New Note Orchestra, the UK’s first recovery orchestra. Fallen Angels Dance Theatre, UK’s recovery-led dance company created the choreography which was shared and taught over a series of creative zooms with participants from all of the arts and recovery organisations. Then the intrepid team of small performance adventures, Edit Sweet (film and video editing) and We are Not Saints (Production and PR) filmed in Brighton and seven other cities and created a beautiful six minute film with over 100 participants that has so far been viewed over 35,000 times online. We also created a series of vox pops films interviewing participants about their involvement with the film. 

In Chester we worked with Fallen Angels, in Manchester TiPP and The Men’s Room. Then the following week we were in Plymouth with The Theatre Royal Plymouth’s Our Space team and in Bristol with BDP. Then we visited London with Outside Edge Theatre Company and Birmingham’s Geese Theatre. You can discover more about the project on our Facebook page.

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Participants from seven cities across the UK tell us about why they have chosen to get involved in International Overdose Day 2021

“Edit Sweet was excited to be involved with OAD for the third year running. Seeing the project progress from a simple pop-up event in Brighton, to a national project involving 11 recovery-based organisations has given us a powerful insight as to how a simple idea can build and form far-reaching connections with careful planning and development, plus listening to our community."

Annie MurrayEdit Sweet

“Another way of expressing feelings and emotions felt from losing people. Powerful and effective”


"I couldn't believe that so many people got involved with it. I enjoyed every minute of it. I do think about it all the time. It's very important to me, with all that I've been through. We need to work with them again… We should do more awareness projects, Overdose and Self-harm… Maybe even a Christmas project!"


"It was such a lovely day, in a way. It was really touching that everyone came together like that. It had real gravitas. There was something in the process that was connecting for everyone around the subject of overdose, and to be given space to reflect on it. I think everyone involved got something out of it.”


"A haunting sad nostalgic day of friends lost whilst acutely aware of life in remembrance."


Project History

In 2020, in response to the global pandemic through zoom and some socially distanced film making, we created a series of videos that were shown on the day. We worked with Edit Sweet and  We are Not Saints in Brighton and across England with Bristol Drugs Project, Outside Edge in London, and Our Space at Theatre Royal Plymouth.

Learn more about our work in 2020

In 2019 with funding from The National Lottery Community Fund, we worked with Bristol Drugs Project’s choir and drama group to deliver simultaneous pop up performances in Brighton and Bristol which were live-streamed here.

In 2018, small performance adventures worked in partnership with cascade creative recovery to deliver a series of pop up performances for International Overdose Awareness Day. These performances involved Cascade’s Choir and drama group and were  acts of remembrance, respect and awareness raising.