WEDNESDAY, July 31, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Summer appears to be a risk factor for drug use initiation, according to a study published online July 23 in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Joseph J. Palamar, Ph.D., from New York University in New York City, and colleagues analyzed data from 394,415 individuals (aged 12 years and older) participating in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health from 2011 to 2017. Year and month of initiation of cannabis, ecstasy/MDMA/Molly, LSD, and/or cocaine were examined.

The researchers found that initiation of each of the four drugs was significantly more likely to occur in the summer compared with other seasons. Specifically, summer was associated with 30.4 percent of cannabis use initiation, 27.5 percent of cocaine use, 34 percent of LSD use, and 29.8 percent of ecstasy use compared with other seasons. Across demographic characteristics and survey years, differences in season of initiation remained.

“Given that the risk for initiation for each drug examined is fairly consistent throughout the year, with a slight increase over the summer, prevention efforts should be incessant, perhaps with an increase in vigilance (for parents and/or educators) and additional messaging during late spring,” the authors write.

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