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New home safety kits aim to prevent suicide, opioid misuse

Gun with cable lock attached
www.safefirearmsstorage.org
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One safety measure is to attach cable locks to firearms.

The kits are available by request. Community Partnership of the Ozarks is handing out the kits to residents of four Missouri counties.

Chris Davis of Community Partnership of the Ozarks hopes a new tool his organization is handing out will save lives.

Davis, vice president of prevention and youth support for the nonprofit, said CPO began distributing safety kits—part of the Home Safety Kit Project—this summer. The kits were developed to address two of the issues CPO works to reduce across the 21 counties it serves: opioid misuse and suicide.

"The kits provide information and resources that can be used to help decrease the risks related to both of those, especially the access to the means for consequences from those," said Davis.

Each kit comes with a lock box for storing opioid medication or firearms, drug deactivation pouches for disposing of unused pills and a firearm cable lock. Davis says people can use the lock "to decrease access to the firearms in their homes."

Firearms are used in more than 50 percent of suicides, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

And decreasing access to opioids can help avoid overdoses, Davis said. Most young people access opioids for misuse from either their own home or those of family members and friends, according to Davis.

The kits also contain literature about how to avoid opioid misuse and resources for people having suicidal thoughts.

The kits are being distributed at a time when the 10th leading cause of death in Missouri is suicide. It's the second leading cause of death of people between ages 10 and 34, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

Fatal drug overdoses are the leading cause of death among adults age 18 to 44 in Missouri, according to MODHSS, with more than 70 percent of those overdoses involving opioids.

More than 200 people so far have registered to receive a kit at one of 11 distribution sites in Greene, Christian, Taney and Howell Counties. Davis hopes they can eventually expand the program to more counties.

You can sign up for a home safety kit at cpozarks.org/suicideprevention.

If you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide, call 988—the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.

Michele Skalicky has worked at KSMU since the station occupied the old white house at National and Grand. She enjoys working on both the announcing side and in news and has been the recipient of statewide and national awards for news reporting. She likes to tell stories that make a difference. Michele enjoys outdoor activities, including hiking, camping and leisurely kayaking.