On Overdose Awareness Day, Poet Brings Attention to the 93,331 Overdose Deaths of 2020

Alicia Cook's poem, entitled "93,331," is dedicated to the ones left behind following a fatal overdose.

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Photo by Kamelia Ani
Photo by Kamelia Ani

93,331. That’s the number of lives that overdosed on drugs and died in 2020 (CDC). This is nearly a 30% increase from 2019.

Today, August 31, is International Overdose Awareness Day. According to the movement’s website, this day marks the world’s largest annual campaign to end overdose, remember without stigma those who have died and acknowledge the grief of the family and friends left behind.

Poet and Activist Alicia Cook is sharing a poem she wrote at one in the morning.

“Something I’ve tried to do for most of my adult life is make sense of this pain that never goes away,” said Cook, who has publicly advocated for families affected by addiction for more than a decade. “This pain has shaped me more than joy ever could. This pain is triggered every time these numbers grow higher and higher.”

This poem, entitled “93,331,” is dedicated to the ones those 93,331 souls left behind. The ones that have to keep on living with more questions than answers; more rubble than foundation; more anger than peace; more judgment than support.

If you, or someone you know, are struggling with a Substance Use Disorder at this very moment please know that addiction is NOT a hopeless, incurable condition. Recovery is possible. Help is available.

93, 331 by ALICIA COOK

In some other timeline
I find you in time,
turn you on your side.

In some other timeline,
I beat the sirens home
and you don’t die alone.

In some other timeline,
you recover⁠—
and no one needs to call your mother. 

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