CONCORD, N.H. – Warning that medicine cabinets are a “prescription for danger,” the New Hampshire Suicide Prevention Council outlined strategies Monday to reduce unnecessary access to potentially lethal drugs.

New Hampshire has seen 150 to 200 suicides a year for the last five years, a rate slightly higher than the national average.

While intentional poisoning does not result in as many deaths as firearms, overdoses account for the overwhelming majority of hospital admissions for suicide attempts.

According to figures compiled by the state, 87 percent of hospital stays related to suicidal behavior from 2004 to 2008 were from poisonings.

Karen Simone, director of the Northern New England Poison Control Center, said as instances of intentional poisonings increase, the age of those involved appears to be dropping.

While the state’s new prescription drug monitoring program likely will reduce the flow of drugs prescribed to so-called doctor shoppers, consumers also can play a role, she said.

She urged parents of teenagers to get rid of prescription medications they no longer need and to reconsider stocking large quantities of over-the-counter medications such as Tylenol.

“Maybe you shouldn’t go to Sam’s Club and buy 500 or 1,000 at a time,” she said. “You can have smaller bottles in your home. Keep an eye on your medication and know how much is there.”

Dr. Jeffrey Fetter, president of the New Hampshire Psychiatric Society, said clinicians can help by writing shorter-term prescriptions, prescribing drugs that are less toxic if taken in great quantities and enlisting the help of patients’ friends and families.

Fetter described his daily interaction with patients who’ve just tried to kill themselves and his efforts to move them from utter hopelessness to recovery.

As a therapist, David Chimielecki said he carefully keeps track of the prescription medications his clients are prescribed but said many of his peers do not, raising the risk that suicidal people could have easy access to large quantities of drugs.

Chimielecki, 36, said he used to fit that description. After growing up in an abusive home, he combined alcohol and prescription drugs for years and survived a suicide attempt before turning his life around 10 years ago.

“I really want to hammer this home to clinicians, psychiatrists, (primary care physicians) — when a person gets sober, that is where the most vigilance should come,” he said. “My first year of sobriety, I thought of suicide every single day. Every single day.”