In effort to combat suicide, city distributes free locking devices for storing medications and firearms

Virginia

According to Lock and Talk, firearms and prescription medications are the two most common means of committing suicide in the United States.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WDVM) — The City of Alexandria is joining other jurisdictions in the Commonwealth to prevent suicide; especially among the city’s youth.

The Lock and Talk program, in partnership with the Suicide Prevention Alliance of Northern Virginia, promotes the safe and responsible care of guns and medications — away from those who may be in crisis.

According to Lock and Talk, firearms and prescription medications are the two most common means of committing suicide in the United States.

Alexandria’s Department of Community and Children Services is joining the program and providing prescription lock boxes and trigger locks and gun locks to Alexandria residents. The materials are free of charge, thanks to funding from opioid prevention grants and the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services. 

The Center for Children and Families says it’s prevention-based. Youth Development Team Leader Noraine Buttar says 90 percent of people who attempt suicide and survive don’t attempt suicide again. “It’s a split-second decision,” said Buttar. “And in that time of crisis, if you can keep them away from a lethal weapon, you have a chance of them getting help or getting them help and them surviving and getting on to thrive.” 

Because Lock and Talk is a pilot program in Alexandria, the materials are available by request. Buttar can be reached at 703-746-3436 to arrange a time to pick them up.

Eventually, Buttar says the city hopes to have them available at other community services locations. 

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Alexandria Emergency Services: 703-746-3401

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