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. 


  • Alicia Cook

    Bestselling Author, Award-Winning Activist, Lover of French Fries

    Alicia Cook is a professional writer, speaker, and poet. She is the poet behind 2016’s bestselling book of poetry, Stuff I’ve Been Feeling Lately, 2018’s I Hope My Voice Doesn’t Skip, and 2020’s Sorry I Haven’t Texted You Back.

    Cook dedicates much of her life to shedding light on how drug addiction impacts the mental health of families. She released a collection of essays on the topic entitled Heroin Is the Worst Thing to Ever Happen To Me. An essayist and speaker, her activism to fight the opioid epidemic is far-reaching and has garnered a worldwide readership, and her own episode on the PBS series Here’s the Story.

    In 2016, her debut poetry collection was named a finalist in the Goodreads Choice Awards. Cook was the recipient of 2017’s Everyday Hero award from NJTV and 2018’s Women with Voices award from the Women with Voices Foundation. She was named a 2019 Healthcare Hero finalist by NJBiz. Her writing in higher education earned her three MarCom awards and one Communicator award. Her songwriting has been recognized by American Songwriter Magazine. In 2020, her latest poetry book was named a semi-finalist in the Goodreads Choice Awards. That same year Georgian Court named her as its Distinguished Alumni of the Year (2020) and was their 2021Commencement Speaker.

    Cook received an MBA from Saint Peter’s University and a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Georgian Court University. She currently lives in Newark, NJ. You can find her on social media.