About Locks Save Lives

More than a campaign…it’s a movement

Locks Save Lives is a strategic social norms campaign, intended for preventing and reducing opioid misuse among children and young people, with a focus on safe and secure home storage of prescription pain medications.

Background & Research

Data from local and national studies was used to inform our priority audience about local and nationwide impacts of the opioid crisis to establish the need for storing medication in a locked location and encourage this healthy, mindful behavior as a normal part of life. We found that many people store prescription and over-the-counter medications in visible and accessible locations in the home because of convenience, lack of awareness and lack of a secure place to store their medicine. Consequently, this puts visitors and family members including children and pets in danger of accidental ingestion, experimentation or misuse.

For those reasons, Locks Save Lives was created to encourage and inform about safe medication storage as well as proper disposal – two of the most effective deterrents to accidental poisonings, overdose, medicine theft, and misuse that can lead to prescription drug addiction.

Source: Safe Kids Worldwide

Development & Implementation

Two phases were written into the Locks Save Lives initiative. Funding for Phase I, was provided by Washington State Health Care Authority through an Opioid State Targeted Response Grant and concluded on April 30, 2019. Additional funding for Phase II was also provided by Washington State Health Care Authority through a State Opioid Response Grant that will conclude on September 29, 2022.

For campaign sustainability, partner toolkits for both Locks Save Lives and Locks Save Lives Home were created for others to implement in communities throughout Washington State and nationwide. The partner toolkits are available as free downloads on the partner resources page.

Phase 1

Phase I of Locks Save Lives focuses on safe and secure home storage of prescription pain medication and seeks to encourages parents, grandparents and guardians with youth grades 6-12 in the home to store medicine in a secure location for the sake of keeping their kids and medication safe. It largely focuses on the dissemination of educational resources and medication lock boxes with the intent to reduce access and prevent opioid misuse among children and young people.

Phase 2

Locks Save Lives Home, created by home builders, property managers, realtors and prevention partners was incorporated into the Locks Save Lives initiative to meet a greater need for safe and convenient home storage for prescription and over the-counter medications. Locks Save Lives Home encourages single and multi-family home builders, property managers and real estate professionals to purchase and install a locking cabinet or drawer in each of the homes they build, manage or sell. Partners also print and disseminate educational materials to inform families and promote safe storage of prescription and over-the-counter medications along with proper disposal of unused medications at a medicine take-back program​.

We couldn’t do it without you!

A special thank you to our Southwest Washington regional partners who collaborated on creating and launching Locks Save Lives; a locally developed campaign focused on reducing youth access to opioids by encouraging parents, grandparents and guardians to secure their prescription medications in the home by locking them up.

* On April 27, 2019, the Locks Save Lives campaign was launched during the DEA National Drug Take Back Day at three of the Drug Take-Back events in Clark County Washington. The campaign toolkit has been made available on this site for free download for use in Washington State and nationwide.