Applications for International Overdose Awareness Day Grants Now Open



In 2016, the Province of British Columbia (BC) declared a public health emergency in response to the Opioid Crisis, or what is now being called the Toxic Drug Supply Emergenc​y. Toxic and unpredictable supplies of drugs have flooded the unregulated drug market and we have seen an unprecedented amount of drug poisoning events and deaths, especially among First Nations people. People from all walks of life are dying. 

These are our mothers, fath​​ers, sisters, brothers, children and friends. And every day we are losing more people.

Aug. 31, 2023 is International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD), 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. It is a time to remember and a time to act.

The FNHA is offering community-based grants of $2,000 for First Nations communities and First Nations Health Service Organizations that provide wellness and harm reduction services to Indigenous people in BC to hold an event, gathering ​​or ceremony on or around Aug. 31, 2023.

Applications from First Nations communities, First Nations Health Service Organizations, and Indigenous-led organizations (including those based in correction​​​al facilities) will be prioritized for funding. These grants are intended to hold up the good work needed to honour lives lost to the crisis, encourage conversations, remove stigma and remember stories.

Grants funds are intended to​ support an event, gathering or ceremony that reflects the unique needs of your community or group as it relates to the toxic drug emergency. Some ideas for the day could include, but are not limited to:

  • Grief and loss supports or circles
  • Education sessions/speakers
  • Community meal with guest speakers
  • Ceremony
  • A commemorative space or design (e.g.: mural, carving, plaque, sculpture, a garden space)
  • Community event where everyone is welcomed together in a safe space
  • How to use naloxone trainings
  • Cultural gathering to share teachings
  • Create and share medicine bundles
  • Candle light vigil
  • Collage of videos and pictures of those who have died
  • Designate a space for a memorial
  • Harm reduction conversations​

How to Apply
Fill in and sign the Word document​ and email to

The deadline to apply is July 10, 2023.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Who can apply for the IOAD Grants?

The funding applications for an IOAD Grant must be received from: (1) First Nations, including First Nations Community/Band/Village Council.  (2) A First Nations Health Service Organization or (3) an organization or agency that serves Indigenous People and is a registered society, or (4) a correctional institution. Applications from First Nations communities, First Nations Health Service Organizations, and Indigenous-led organizations (including those based in correctional facilities) will be prioritized for funding. 

2. Can an Individual apply for a grant?

No. The funds cannot be distributed to an individual. The FNHA encourages people with an idea or concept to connect with a group that meets the criteria described in question one.

For example: if you are a local peer or drug user group who wants to support an Indigenous-led event to honor those who passed away from toxic drugs, this may be an opportunity to work with a local First Nations community or Indigenous health service provider. 

3. When can the event or initiative take place?

The FNHA recommends the event or initiative take place on Aug. 31 in honour of International Overdose Awareness Day. However, the event or initiative can take place anywhere between Aug. 20 to Sept. 30, 2023.

If there are goals outside this timeframe, please contact  

4. Can I use the funds for an Elder or Person with Lived and Living Experience (PWLLE) honourarium?

Yes. The funds can be used to provide an honourarium to an Elder or PWLLE for their services. Funds may not be used for the following: (1) the purchase of alcohol, (2​​) prize money, or (3) illegal purchases. The grant funds may be used for other forms of prizes, including gift cards. 

5. Who can I contact for more help or to answer other questions?

Team members are available by phone or email.

If you have any questions, please email


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