Falkirk icon to light up purple for overdose awareness

Landmarks across Scotland will light up purple this Thursday (31 August) to mark International Overdose Awareness Day.

Falkirk’s iconic Steeple will take part, shining a beacon across the local area that organisers hope will act as a reminder that every drug-related death is preventable.

The awareness day, observed at the end of August each year, seeks to create better understanding of overdose, reduce the stigma of drug-related deaths, and create change that reduces the harms associated with drug use.

Phillip Heaton, Lead Officer, Falkirk Alcohol and Drug Partnership said: “By coming together to remember those we have lost to drug-related harm, we can help prevent further heartache to families and communities across Scotland.

“Drug deaths are preventable, and we can all play our part by knowing how to take action. We know the distribution of Naloxone, an overdose reversal medication, is working well in Forth Valley, and that if everyone knows the signs of an overdose and takes action immediately, we can save a life.”

Recent figures published by National Records of Scotland show that 1,051 people in Scotland died from drug-related harm in 2022, a decrease of 279 deaths compared to the previous year and the lowest number of drug misuse deaths since 2017.

Local organisations offering advice and support say that anyone can be affected by alcohol and drug-related harm, and that help is available within local communities.

Karen Duncan, Team Lead, Forth Valley Recovery Community added: “There is a strong community spirit in Falkirk and the wider Forth Valley area, which we have seen this week while marking International Overdose Awareness Day.

“People from any walk of life can be affected by drug or alcohol related harm – but everyone should know that help is available in a range of different ways. We want to encourage a wider understanding of the issues that can lead to substance use, and build a culture of compassion which leads to more people feeling comfortable to access help and less communities impacted by tragic and preventable deaths.

“The recovery community is available to provide peer-to-peer advice, support, and networking – offering a friendly face and understanding ear, while linking into health services if you should need them”.

Further information about local support, the Naloxone programme, or advice on drug or alcohol related issues can be found on the Falkirk Alcohol and Drug Partnership website.

Other local monuments and landmarks will take part in International Overdose Awareness Day across Forth Valley, including the Spiers Centre in Alloa and Stirling’s Wallace Monument.