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Suicide-Proofing the Environment - Firearm, Medication and Alcohol Safety


Among people who survived a suicide attempt, 24% said that in response to a short-term crisis, less than 5 minutes elapsed between deciding on suicide and making the attempt.  

Nine out of 10 people who attempt suicide and survive do not later die by suicide. If lethal means are not readily available, and time is allowed between the thought of suicide and getting help during a crisis, we can prevent suicide


Numerous studies indicate that youth know where firearms are stored, even if we don’t think they do. Youth surveys have demonstrated that even if firearms are locked, youth know where keys and ammunition are kept. Firearms used in youth suicide usually belong to a parent. Youth are more likely to act upon impulse behavior.

 How to help until a suicide crisis has passed:

  • Firearms – Firearms are the most lethal suicide method. Access to firearms increases the risk of suicide more than three times. You can help a person at risk identify a trusted person to store the firearms off site. This provides the person at risk control over making safer choices and encourages help-seeking behavior. Both the Madras Police Department (541.475.2344) and the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office (541.475.6520) will temporarily store firearms until the crisis has passed.

  • Medications – A doctor, pharmacist, or the Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) may be able to help you determine safe quantities for medicines to keep on hand. 

  • Alcohol – Alcohol increases the potential for an at-risk person to attempt suicide and increase the lethality of suicide attempts. Keep only small quantities at home.


Contact a mental health provider, a hospital, or the BestCare Prevention Team for more information on lethal means restriction.

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