Substance use and firearm access among college freshmen

Matthew E. Rossheim, Bita Khoshhal, Samantha Karon, Lawrence J. Cheskin, Pamela J. Trangenstein, Cara L. Frankenfeld, Niloofar Ramezani, Alison E. Cuellar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Examine the proportion of students with rapid firearm access and associations with recent alcohol and marijuana use. Participants: Cross-sectional data from college freshmen (n = 183) in 2020 who participated in the Mason: Health Starts Here study. Methods: Using logistic regression, associations were examined between past 30-day substance use and access to firearms within 15-min. Results: More than 10% of students could rapidly access a firearm, 53% of whom were current binge drinkers, compared to 13% of those who could not rapidly access firearms. Non-Hispanic White students (AOR = 4.1, 95%CI = 1.3,12.7) and past 30-day binge drinkers (AOR = 6.4, 95%CI = 2.1,19.7) had greater odds of having rapid firearm access. Age, sex, and past 30-day marijuana use were not associated with rapid access. Conclusions: A notable proportion of students had rapid firearm access, which was strongly associated with recent binge drinking. Campus prevention programs should consider how their alcohol and firearm policies could be enhanced to prevent violence/self-harm.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of American College Health
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • Gun access
  • heavy episodic drinking
  • university


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