A common misconception regarding illegal drugs is that someone can experiment or only use on the weekend without developing an addiction. According to a new study published in the journal Annals of Family Medicine, more than fifty percent of people who admit to using drugs on the weekends eventually become addicted to those drugs. The study is important in dispelling the myths regarding even casual use.
Judith Bernstein, co-author of the study, exclaimed that “(weekend drug use)…frequently progresses into daily use, and warrants continued monitoring." The results were obtained when researchers interviewed and shadowed 483 people. The study subjects, who had all admitted to weekend drug use, were accompanied to doctor appointments and subsequently interviewed. In addition to discovering that more than half of weekend users develop a full blown addiction, researchers also found out that cocaine was the drug of choice for those who chose to use drugs during the weekends only.
Cocaine use peaked in the United States many years ago and has seemed to taper off as other drugs like heroin and prescription painkillers became more popular, but it is still widely available and used. While 54% of the study subjects developed a more serious addiction, 27% quit all drugs during the duration of the study, and 19% remained weekend drug users.
The goal behind the research was to show physicians that they were missing opportunities to prevent a serious drug addiction. Patients are often more willing to be honest with their doctor when it comes to their drug use. Understanding that patients who admit to occasionally using drugs on the weekends are more likely to develop a drug addiction puts doctors in a position where they could be intervening. It is good for healthcare professionals and family members alike to be aware of more ways people can be saved from the devastation caused by addiction.