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Does Drug Use Increase During Summer?

For most people, the summer is an exciting time. The warm long days offer an added excuse to get out, have fun and (truth be told) indulge. And now, it appears there is actual research that shows that drug experimentation rises sharply during this time of year.

Coming from The Journal of General Internal Medicine, the study revealed that roughly one third of initial drug abuse occurs during the months of June, July and August. This includes everything from marijuana, to ecstasy, to LSD and finally cocaine (which had a 28 percent spike in first time usage during this period).

The study further emphasizes the temptations and environmental factors that weigh into these statistics. Young people, for example, are typically working less during summer months, as schools are on hiatus. More downtime can mean more curiosity and more accessibility to particular substances.

The summer is also well known as a “party season,” with 4th of July festivities, beach get togethers and warm nights out; all of which leave people vulnerable to substances. And let’s not forget the popular music festivals that line up with this particular season.

“People aren’t working like crazy, and if you’re going out, maybe just because of the warmer weather, you might be hanging out with people more,” study author Dr. Joseph Palamar explained. “But it is important to note that using a drug for the first time, I think, can place an individual at unique risk, especially if use is unplanned, or if they initiate a drug that they’re unfamiliar with.”

Dr. Palamar went on to say that hotter weather can put first time users at a greater risk for health problems. Dehydration is a major consideration (particularly at desert-based all day music festivals), as is heat stroke.

There have been several warnings about cocaine as well. With batches now laced with the deadly synthetic opioid fentanyl, first time users could easily find themselves at a risk for an overdose. And if you are unfamiliar with these drugs, you may find yourself taking higher dosages during your initial experimentation.

Dr. Palamar concluded with a warning to festival organizers and summer event coordinators.

“Educating people about the risks of drug use, particularly in festival settings, could help people make more informed choices about their drug use and use more responsibly if they are going to indulge,” he explained. “It kills me when I hear about these young kids being carried out of festivals. Teens and young adults should not be dying from drugs like ecstasy. I think there’s a lot of uneducated use going on, and it’s scary.”