If you randomly ask a person what season/month people are most likely to experiment with marijuana (or any other drug for that matter), odds are high that you will get ‘December’ or ‘fall’ in reply. The former because of the holidays and the latter because it marks the start of college life for many teens.
However, as per a study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, the time of the year when people are most likely to try drugs for the first time is summer – a season marked by long days, balmy weather, various fests and plenty of idle time.
This inference was reached upon by researchers at the New York University (NYU) School of Medicine after they analyzed ‘drug use’ data collected via the National Survey on Drug Use and Health between 2011-2017, wherein roughly 400,000 individuals aged 12 or older completed a computer-assisted interview requiring them to tick mark the month and year they took marijuana, cocaine, LSD, and MDMA (or ecstasy/Molly) for the first time.
Of those surveyed, 34% of LSD initiates, 30% of MDMA initiates, 30% of marijuana initiates and 28% of cocaine initiates first used the respective drugs in Summer (June-August). Notably, In 2011 and 2012, just a quarter of people (24.9-26.9 percent) experimenting with LSD for the first time did so in summer compared to between 31.4-43 percent in later years. Also, black respondents were less likely (18.2 percent) to use cocaine for the first time in summer than those of other ethnicities and races (26.8-39.3 percent).
The differences between summer and other months were ‘modest’; however, July-August had a slight edge owing to increased leisure time and number of festivals where trying drugs is a “common thing,” said the researchers. More research though is needed to ascertain the situations most likely to encourage first-time consumption and determine whether it is planned or unplanned, they added.