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Home » Uncategorized » New medication safety handbook available at Back-to-School Bash

New medication safety handbook available at Back-to-School Bash


Youth Substance Awareness and Prevention Coalition’s program specialist Valerie Kling with the newest publication form the coalition, “A Handbook for Keeping Families Safe from Prescription Pain Killers.” Available at Saturday’s Back-to-School Bash or by download.

Wednesday, August 11, 2021; Silver City, NM: The newest publication on medication safety will be available for free at the upcoming Back To School Bash on Saturday, August 14 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Harvest Fellowship Church parking lot, 1500 N. Hudson St. in Silver City, NM. The event is sponsored by the New Mexico Department of Health’s Children Medical Services and Amplified Therapy Inc.

A Handbook for Keeping Families Safe from Prescription Pain Killers” was created by the Youth Substance Awareness and Prevention Coalition (YSAPC) of Grant County to focus on easy steps to implement in the home to reduce the chance accidental poisonings and overdoses from prescription medications.

“We kept families as the focus point – which I think is crucial,” said Valerie Kling, YSAPC program specialist. “The handbook is a helpful tool, specifically when it comes to what families should know about prescription pain medication. It outlines everything from defining what an opioid is to safe disposal methods.”

The publication is vital for families to read as New Mexico saw a 25 percent increase in overdose deaths from Oct. 2019 to Oct. 2020 – a total of 743 deaths. Prescription painkillers, specifically opioids, were the number one substance attributed to overdose deaths during this time, accounting for 501 deaths.

Opioids are a powerful prescription medication that, when used correctly, safely treat moderate to severe pain and boost feelings of pleasure. Opioids can come in pills, capsules, patches, nose sprays, liquids, injectables, or lozenges. Heroin, an illegal substance, is also classified as an opioid.

The handbook includes simple steps to safely store medications in the home to decrease the risk of overdose. It also includes local resources to safely dispose of medications – like opioids – and how to access naloxone, a temporary overdose reversal medication that should always be kept on-hand if you have an opioid prescription.

“This is such a prevailing issue right now in the state,” said Deborah Sullivan, NMDOH Medical and Public Health Social Worker, is coordinating the Back-to-School Bash where the handbook will be distributed. For those that can’t make the event the handbook is available for download:

“I have a personal interest in trying to prevent overdoses,” added Sullivan. “My family member died of an overdose during the COVID pandemic. I think kids have access to medications they shouldn’t, and properly securing medications can save lives.”

The YSAPC met with Grant County residents to tailor the handbook for families. Previously known as the Youth Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition, the community group recently updated its name and joined the Grant County Community Health Council’s Behavioral Health and Substance Misuse Prevention Network (BHSMP) to affect more change in the area.

Kling has stepped into the YSAPC leadership role offering her expertise with a bachelor’s degree in public health from the New Mexico State University.  A native of southern New Mexico, Kling was born Las Cruces, but recently relocated to Silver City – a location her family has a long history in as her parents worked, met, and fell in love in the town. Her eldest sister was born at Gila Regional Medical Center.

“I have camped and fished in the Gila mountains as a little girl with my family where I spent much of my childhood and made so many beautiful memories. I am so honored to serve this county,” added Kling.

Kling wants to make certain Grant County families have the resources they need to store medications safely.

Kling advised, “I am an advocate for open communication and education. Talking about why these medications can be harmful with children and teens is key. Also, lock up your prescription medication, learn how to dispose of it correctly, and don’t share it!”

A program of the Center for Health Innovation, the YSAPC funded by the New Mexico Office of Substance Abuse Prevention (OSAP).

To download the handbook, visit For more information on YSAPC contact Kling at (575) 597-0025 or email:

This news release is made available by the Youth Substance Awareness and Prevention Coalition of Grant County, a program of the Center for Health Innovation, New Mexico’s designated Public Health Institute, and funded by the New Mexico Office of Substance Abuse Prevention (OSAP).