This study assesses whether experiencing multiple deaths of loved ones clustered in time increases risk for substance use problems. Using survey data from a community sample of young adults in Miami, Florida (N = 1747), time-clustered deaths were categorized based on the age of the respondent at the time of each death, with less time between deaths representing greater time-clustering. Results indicate that young adults experiencing multiple deaths that are highly time clustered are at increased risk for substance use disorder and alcohol use. This study provides an alternative way of thinking about how young people may be affected by major life events. It suggests that the increased risk for substance use disorder associated with multiple deaths may be more likely to materialize when the deaths are highly clustered in time. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.