A new study from the NYU School of Medicine has revealed that both adults and teenagers are more likely to try a new drug in the summertime. The researchers found that 34 percent of Americans who recently tried LSD and 30 percent of those who tried marijuana or ecstasy reported that they first experimented during the summer months.
“First-time users may be unfamiliar with the effects of various drugs, so it is important to first understand when people are most likely to start these behaviors,” said study senior author Dr. Joseph J. Palamar.
According to the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, more than 3 million Americans tried LSD, marijuana, cocaine, or ecstasy for the first time in 2017.
The NYU investigation was focused on data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, which involved nearly 400,000 respondents who were at least 12 years old. Through a computer-assisted interview, the participants were asked to report on any drug use and to recall the month and year when they initiated use.
The researchers believe the findings can be at least partially attributed to the fact that many people have extra recreational time during the summer. They also pointed to the growing popularity of outdoor music festivals, where recreational drug use is common.
“Parents and educators who are concerned about their kids need to educate them year-round about potential risks associated with drug use, but special emphasis appears to be needed before or during summer months when rates of initiation increase,” said Dr. Palamar. He recommends for potential users to become educated about the drugs they are going to use and their side effects.
The experts emphasized that further research is needed to determine when and where people are most likely to use drugs for the first time, as well as other circumstances such as whether drug experimentation is typically planned or unplanned.
The study is published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.
By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com Staff Writer
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