New York, July 24, 2019 — A study by researchers from New York University shows that in the United States more than a third of adolescents and adults tried hard drugs for the first time during the summer months.

Summer vacation often leads to overindulgence — beer, barbecue, rosé wine… According to a new study published yesterday in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, summer is also the period when teenagers and young adults try “hard” drugs for the first time.

The researchers were interested in recreational use of marijuana as well as in “hard drugs” such as cocaine, ecstasy, and LSD. “It is important to first understand when people are most likely to start these behaviors,” said the study’s senior investigator Joseph J. Palamar, MPH, PhD, an associate professor in the Department of Population Health at NYU School of Medicine.

The study used data obtained from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health between 2011 and 2017 involving about 394,415 people ages 12 and older. Participants were asked about their use of various drugs in interviews during which they specified the month of the year when they took the drug for the first time.

The survey showed that more than a third of recent first-time experiences with LSD happened during the summer (34 per cent), as well as with ecstasy (30 per cent), marijuana (30 per cent), and cocaine (28 per cent). For the researchers, these results could be explained, in part, by the number of outdoor activities, such as music festivals, which take place during summer.

Professor Palamar emphasized the need for potential users to be informed about the drugs they are going to take, especially regarding secondary effects. He recommends that users stay in the company of trusted friends when taking drugs for the first time, make sure to drink enough fluids, and getting enough rest to avoid dehydration, exhaustion, or more serious outcomes such as heatstroke. – Reuters