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JCDH Recognizes International Overdose Awareness Day

Published: 08/31/22

JCDH Recognizes International Overdose Awareness Day

On August 31, 2022, the Jefferson County Department of Health (JCDH) will recognize International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD)1 by honoring the 401 lives lost to overdose in Jefferson County in 2021 with a flag display at the Guy M. Tate Building at 1400 6th Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 35233. Each purple flag will represent a life lost to overdose and a group of loved ones forever changed. Our digital marquee will provide harm reduction messaging throughout the day.

We are losing our children, parents, siblings, significant others, friends, neighbors, and co-workers to overdose. This crisis impacts every community in Jefferson County: every gender, age, race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. Based on the most recent provisional data released by the CDC, nearly 105,000 people died from an overdose in the United States over 12 months (March 2021-March 2022)2. In Jefferson County, overdose deaths increased 77% between 2019 and 2021 (236 in 2019 to 401 in 2021)3, and fentanyl-involved overdose deaths rose 233% from 2019 to 2021 (95 in 2019 to 316 in 2021). 

To coincide with the recognition of IOAD, JCDH is relaunching its online training site with updated naloxone training and a newly added training on the use of fentanyl test strips4. Our website offers free naloxone and free fentanyl test strips to anyone in the State of Alabama in partnership with the Alabama Department of Public Health and the Alabama Department of Mental Health. Naloxone is a life-saving medication that can reverse an opioid overdose. It is available as an easily administered nasal spray. The training takes less than 15 minutes. Individuals may access the training on the JCDH website at and search for naloxone. Friends and family members of individuals with substance use disorder should be educated on naloxone and have naloxone available. If you have questions about receiving a free naloxone kit or fentanyl test strips through JCDH, please email or call 205-930-1065.

Help is available for those struggling with substance use through a free 24/7 substance use helpline at 1-844-307-1760. This is a statewide service sponsored by the Alabama Department of Mental Health and staffed by peer recovery support specialists from the Recovery Organization of Support Specialists (ROSS) to help individuals navigate treatment and recovery systems. Individuals may also call the Recovery Resource Center at 205-458-3377. The Connect Alabama app is another effective way to find more information on substance use resources5.

“I am proud of the amazing overdose prevention, and response work our team at JCDH has done over the last several years, as well as the great work so many partners are doing. Many lives have been saved, and many have found their way to recovery, but the staggering number of lives lost is heartbreaking. We need more people – those with addiction and those in a position to help them – to take advantage of these resources.” – Dr. Mark Wilson


1.      International Overdose Awareness Day: August 31 - International Overdose Awareness Day (

2.      Ahmad FB, Cisewski JA, Rossen LM, Sutton P. Provisional drug overdose death counts. National Center for Health Statistics. 2022.

Designed by LM Rossen, A Lipphardt, FB Ahmad, JM Keralis, and Y Chong: National Center for Health Statistics.

Products - Vital Statistics Rapid Release - Provisional Drug Overdose Data (, accessed on August 29, 2022.

3.      Annual Report (

4.      Jefferson County Department of Health (

5.      Connect Alabama Behavioral Health Finder Launches – Alabama Department of Mental Health

Central Health Center
(Guy M. Tate)

1400 Sixth Avenue South
Birmingham, AL 35233
(205) 588-5234

(205) 933-9110
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601 West Blvd Roebuck
Birmingham, AL 35206
Programs and Clinics
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631 Bessemer Super Hwy
Midfield, AL 35228
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If you are a patient and need to reach your health care team after business hours for non-life threatening conditions, call (205) 588-5234. For Medical Emergencies dial 911.

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