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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Weekend Drug Use Often Becomes Weekday Use

After five days in a row of the 9 to 5, many people spend their weekends partying with drugs and alcohol; these people are often referred to as “weekend warriors.” While this practice may seem relatively benign, there is the potential for increased drug use. In fact, new research suggests that people, who use drugs only on the weekends initially, often start using drugs throughout the week, The Los Angeles Times reports.

Researchers at Boston University studied 483 primary care patients who admitted to using drugs in the past month. 89 percent of the patients admitted to using drugs on weekdays and weekends. As for the 11 percent who reported only using drugs on the weekend, when surveyed six months later, more than half of them (54 percent) admitted they used drugs during the week, according to the report.

"The study shows us that patterns change," said lead author Judith Bernstein, a professor of community health sciences at Boston University School of Public Health. "Only 19% of people who originally said 'I use on weekends' still used only on weekends."

The researchers point out that the patients analyzed were seeing their primary care physician for regular care; they were not seeking treatment for a substance use disorder

“These findings suggest caution in accepting recreational drug use as reassuring, and the importance of following patients in whom drug use is identified,” the researchers wrote.

“When I was working in clinical care I would have patients say, ‘I just use drugs on the weekend’ or ‘I’m just a recreational user’ as if that doesn’t matter so much,” Bernstein said. “I think clinicians need to understand a little more than perhaps they do now on how these patterns change over time.”

The findings were published in Annals of Family Medicine.

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