Barnsley Council to commemorate International Overdose Awareness Day

We’re working with our commissioned substance use support service Barnsley Recovery Steps, operated by the charity Humankind, to commemorate International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD) on Wednesday 31 August.

An event will take place in the Glass Works square on the day from 11am-4pm, which will include outreach work and training by staff, as well as raising awareness of the dangers of overdoses.

We will also pay tribute to the 200 people who died from an overdose in Barnsley over the past decade.

International Overdose Awareness Day seeks to create a better understanding of overdose, reduce the stigma of drug-related deaths, and create change that reduces the harms associated with drug use.

Councillor Caroline Makinson, Cabinet spokesperson for Public Health and Communities, said: “I want to extend my deepest sympathies to anyone who has lost a friend or loved one to an overdose – they are loved and they are missed.

“In Barnsley, we want everyone to have access to the right support at the right time and place so problems can be tackled early and they can enjoy life in good physical and mental health.

“Therefore, it’s important that we eliminate the stigma surrounding overdoses, so our residents feel comfortable getting help – it does not discriminate and can affect anyone.”

Since our contract began with Recovery Steps in April 2017, 9,110 people have contacted the service for information, advice, support or treatment.

We have plenty of support services in Barnsley for various issues. Recovery Steps offer free and confidential drug and alcohol treatment and support to anyone aged 18 years or over experiencing problems with substance misuse. The support is tailored for different needs, including harm reduction and early prevention support, structured treatment programmes and recovery and aftercare support.

In addition, the Thrive Complex Needs Service provides emergency accommodation and support to people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

The Umbrella service is available to help those who may be struggling with their mental health and wellbeing, while DrinkCoach provides online coaching to help people reduce their drinking.

Emily Todd, Regional Director for Humankind, said: “International Overdose Awareness Day is an important day to remember the loved ones that have lost their lives, to work together to combat stigma around drug use and make sure that everyone who uses drugs knows that help is available to them.

“Barnsley Recovery Steps provides free and confidential support, harm reduction advice and treatment options to anyone experiencing drug or alcohol issues. We encourage anyone who needs help to get in touch.”

For more information about the support available from Recovery Steps, please visit, call 01226 77 90 66 or email

For information on the mental health support available in the borough, go to

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