Parents Hold The Key to stop underage drinking.

Parents Hold the Key is a collaborative initiative to help reduce unintended access to substances in your home.

Alcohol and Medicine that is not safely stored (locked-up or out of reach) can easily be misused by a friend, family member, or anyone entering your home.

Reducing access in your home helps reduce underage drinking, medicine misuse, and poisoning. There are simple, easy ways to safeguard your home to keep your family and community safe.

Safe Communities Coalition’s partnership with Raritan Valley Community College launched this resource in 2020 to help Parents and Caregivers with information and resources to prevent substance use.Parent & Caregiver’s Guide (2020)

Best Practices

+ Safe Storage is HOW and WHERE substances are stored in the home
+ Use Safe Storage methods by locking away these substance and holding the key.

+ Know WHAT and HOW MUCH you have in your home.
+ Monitoring of may include keeping a list on your phone, counting or marking bottles.

Especially if you have to leave guests or workers unattended – lock away any substances that could make you vulnerable to theft.

Even if you trust those entering your home, it’s best to keep substances locked-up – safe storage practices can often remove the temptation and prevent you from becoming a victim.

Keeping substances locked-up can prevent someone from intentionally or unintentionally overdosing.

Mental Health and substance use disorders are not always easily identified and even if someone is being treated by a professional, overdose can still be a risk.

Don’t take any chances, keep any potentially harmful substances locked-up and out of reach at all times.

Real Estate Agents will tell you – if you are in the process of selling or renting your home, lock away any substances. If you don’t already have a Medicine Lock Box, make sure to remove any medicines from the main bathroom.

Home maintenance (Housekeeping, Lawn or Pool services), or Home improvement (Construction or remodeling), etc.

Having people over can leave your home vulnerable, especially if there are more people than you can keep track of during their stay. People looking for the bathroom or a coat closet may find themselves where you keep your alcohol or medicine – make sure they are safely secured to avoid the risk altogether.

This goes for Babysitters, Home Health Aids, Hospice, to Dog Walkers, Pet sitters, etc.

Even if you trust the people entering your home – it’s better to be on the safe side and lock away your substances, especially if Caregivers are left unattended.

Safe Home Storage

Alcohol Best Practices

You don’t have to throw-out all of your alcohol to have a safe home, but whatever alcohol you do have, it’s recommended to keep it locked.

Anytime you have people over, even if you plan to serve alcohol, there are ways to prevent misuse and underage drinking.
+ Make sure to keep any alcohol that you plan to serve is in one location, and
+ Assign a designated person to serve any alcohol. This can prevent over-serving and underage drinking.
+ Any alcohol that you don’t plan to serve, make sure that it is completely secured by keeping it locked away.

It doesn’t matter if you take the keys or monitor teens, providing alcohol to those under age 21 is illegal.

Cabinet/Pantry Lock

Measure the width of the door to get one that fits. Lock kits can be less than $5 and may require a drill and a screwdriver to install.

Fridge Lock

Secure a Basement or Garage Fridge with a Marine Lock. These locks come with either a combination or a key lock.

Bottle Lock

About $5, these easy to use locks work on Wine or Liquor bottles.

Medicine Best Practices

Most people that become addicted started with misusing household medicines from a friend or family member’s medicine cabinet.
Ask your pharmacist about Medicine Lock Boxes and how to keep medicines safe in your home.


+ Rx (Prescription) Medications
– Opioids (Pain relievers), such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, Vicodin, codeine, fentanyl.
– Benzodiazepines (Anxiety or Seizure medication), such as Xanax, Ativan, Valium, Kllonopin.
– Stimulants (ADHD, or Narcolepsy), such as Biphetamine, Dexedrine, Adderal.
+ OTC (Over-The-Counter) Medicine
– Cough and cold, containing DXM (dextromethorphan)
– Motion sickness (dimenhydrinate and diphenhydramine)

+ Pet Medications
– Ketamine (Pet Tranquilizer)
– Barbiturates, such as Phenobarbital (Pet Anxiety)
– Opioids, such as Tramadol (Pet Painkiller), and Hydrocodone (Coughing in Dogs)

Keep out of easy-to-reach locations. Lock boxes can also be installed in drawers or cabinets.

Even if you’re not worried about friends or family members misusing medicines, your home may still be vulnerable.

+Take only as prescribed or intended.
+ Assign ONE adult for safe home-dispensing.
+ NEVER – share or use someone else’s medication. Not only is it illegal, it is also dangerous. Unless you get a medication from a Doctor or Pharmacy, you have no idea what you could accidentally take or how it may effect you.

Don’t keep your old unused, unwanted, or expired medications – using safe disposal methods helps keep the earth clean, and reduces the chance of theft and misuse.

+ SOLIDS (Pills, patches, inhalers):
– Leave medications in the container
– Remove any personal information
– Bring to your local Medicine Drop Box location (

+ LIQUIDS: In a sealable bag or coffee can, make the medicine appear unattractive by mixing with coffee grounds or kitty litter. Dispose in household trash.

+NEEDLES/SYRINGES: Ask your pharmacist about safe needle disposal boxes or find a Safe Syringe Disposal Program near you.

Medicine Lock Boxes

A medicine lock box can range from $15 and up. They can be installed in a cabinet or drawer.

Travel Lock Bags

Ideal for Purses or Backpacks, Gym Bag, Locker room, Vehicle Glove-box.

Overdose prevention law

+ Passing out, semi-conscious
+ Cold, pale or bluish skin
+ Vomiting
+ Slow or irregular breathing
+ Seizures

+ The person is unconscious and you can’t wake them
+ Breathing slowly or not at all
+ Lips or nails are turning blue

+ Call 911 immediately!
+ Say “I think someone may have overdosed. (S)he isn’t breathing.”
If the person is not breathing, do rescue breathing (mouth-to-mouth)
+ Give Narcan/naloxone (the opioid overdose reversal drug) to the person if you have it
+ Lay the person on their side once they resume breathing

Alcohol PSAs

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