Some thoughts for International Overdose Awareness Day

August 31 is International Overdose Awareness Day, and at Galen Hope, it is a topic that is close to our hearts.

International Overdose Awareness Day is “The world’s annual campaign to end overdose, remember without stigma those who have died, and acknowledge the grief of the family and friends left behind.” This is a good time to take a moment and reflect and time to think about the intersections between substance abuse and the work that we specialize in at Galen Hope.

Overdose is a significant problem, and there is a massive need for harm reduction. The Center for Disease Control estimates that 100,000 people died of an overdose in the US in 2021. That astronomical loss of life certainly suggests that the time for action is now.


Interrelated Conditions

At Galen Hope, we recognize the interrelationships between substance abuse, eating disorders, and mental health diagnoses (particularly those that involve past trauma).

  • According to studies from The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, approximately 50% of women with eating disorders also have substance use disorders.
  • According to gov, “More than one in four adults living with serious mental health problems also has a substance use problem.”

And with substance use disorders, the risk of overdose is ever-present.

There are several reasons that these conditions are co-occurring. Those with eating disorders or mental health conditions often use substances to manage symptoms. Many diagnoses are tightly connected to destructive or impulsive behavior patterns. And often, substance use becomes a way to cope with trauma experiences.

This means that we often see clients at Galen Hope who are misusing substances in a number of ways.


How Galen Hope can help

As a primary eating disorder and primary mental health treatment facility, we recognize the need to support our clients in minimizing the risks involved with secondary substance use or those with a history of substance use disorder practicing abstinence. In order to do so, Galen Hope has teamed up with Conscious Recovery. We utilize Conscious Recovery’s curriculum with our clients, and crucially, we feel that the curriculum reflects our own thinking on substance use and integrates into our treatment philosophies.

Among the core pieces of Conscious Recovery’s curriculum that moves us are these key thoughts:

  • Treating addiction must go beyond addressing symptoms and get down to the underlying root causes of destructive behavior
  • The root causes of addictive behavior are unresolved trauma, spiritual disconnection, and toxic shame

Galen Hope is equally committed to helping our clients find their true selves.

We feel that it is vital to work with our clients to reduce the disruption of treatment wherever possible, including when working with clients with co-occurring substance use needs. To help keep clients in our programming, we work closely with specialists from R & A Therapeutic Partners, Improving Lives, and others in the Miami area, to help when our clients need additional support for substance use.

It is our hope that by helping clients feel secure in discussing substance use and by working to treat the underlying causes of the use itself, we can reduce the harm caused by overdose (both Intentional and accidental). This is how we plan to mark International Overdose Awareness Day.



Built on the principles of assertive community treatment, Galen Hope is an eating disorder and mental health treatment center offering individualized treatment options that include Intensive Outpatient (IOP) and Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP). As a “Community of Integrated Wellness,” we pride ourselves in fostering a thoughtful and meaningful care experience that can guide our clients on their road to recovery and increased quality of life, regardless of diagnosis. Galen Hope currently offers separate, age-specific programming for female and transfeminine adolescents ages 12-17 and adults 18 and up, as well as gender-specific programming for males and transmasculine individuals with eating disorders and primary mental health diagnoses.

To learn more or to join our community for integrated wellness, please contact us today.


Belong. Heal. Grow.


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