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Selection and Use of Firearm and Medication Locking Devices in a Lethal Means Counseling Intervention.

Authors
  • Barber, Catherine1
  • Azrael, Deborah1
  • Berrigan, John1
  • Betz, Marian E2, 3
  • Brandspigel, Sara4
  • Runyan, Carol4
  • Salhi, Carmel5
  • Vriniotis, Mary1
  • Miller, Matthew1, 5
  • 1 Department of Health Policy, Harvard Injury Control Research Center, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA.
  • 2 Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, CO, USA.
  • 3 Department of Veterans Affairs Eastern Colorado Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center, Aurora, CO, USA.
  • 4 Department of Epidemiology, Colorado School of Public Health, Aurora, CO, USA.
  • 5 Department of Health Sciences, Bouve College of Health Sciences, Northeastern University, Boston, MA, USA.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Crisis
Publication Date
May 01, 2023
Volume
44
Issue
3
Pages
216–223
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1027/0227-5910/a000855
PMID: 35485394
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Background: While some suicide prevention initiatives distribute locking devices for firearms and medication, little evidence exists to guide the selection of devices. Aims: This study aimed to describe safety standards for locking devices and compare parental acceptance rates for different types of devices. Method: As part of the larger SAFETY Study, behavioral health clinicians provided free locking devices to parents whose child was evaluated in the emergency department (ED) for a suicide-related or behavioral health-related problem. For logistical reasons, we changed the specific devices offered midstudy. Data on device use came from follow-up interviews with 226 parents. Results: Few effective standards exist for locking devices for home use; we could easily break into some. At follow-up, twice as many gun-owning parents were using ED-provided handgun lockboxes as cable locks (28% vs. 14%, p = .02). Overall, 55% of parents reported using an ED-provided medication lockbox, with more using the drawer-sized lockbox than the larger, steel toolbox (60% vs. 42%, p < .01). Limitations: Storage outcomes are from parents' self-report and from one state only. Conclusion: Parents appeared to prefer some devices over others. Our findings suggest the need for (a) effective safety standards, (b) affordable devices meeting these standards, and (c) further research on consumer preferences to ensure use.

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