A new study, led by researchers at NYU School of Medicine, has found that both teens and adults are more likely to try illegal or recreational drugs for the first time in the summer.
The study, published Tuesday in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, found that 34% of recent LSD initiates first tried the drug during the summer, as well as 30% of marijuana initiates, 30% of ecstasy initiates and 28% of cocaine initiates.
Using data collected from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, researchers looked at 394,415 people over the age of 12 between 2011 and 2017. Participants were asked about their use of various drugs and when they first tried them.
Researchers attribute the results to extra leisure time in the summer months and the growing popularity of music festivals, where 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," Joseph J. Palama, senior study investigator and associate professor in the Department of Population Health at NYU School of Medicine, said in a press release.
If one decides to try drugs, Palamar recommends doing it around trusted friends who can assist them if their body reacts negatively to the drugs.
"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," Palamar said.
According to the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 3 million Americans in 2017 tried LSD, marijuana, cocaine or ecstasy for the first time.