Navigating the Temptation of Substances During the Summer Season

young adults gathering and talking at a party on a summer evening

Summer is usually seen as a time for celebration and fun. For many, summer and alcoholic beverages go hand-in-hand. Whether you’re on the beach, at a concert, or just relaxing poolside, having a drink is often considered a part of the summer festivities. However, it can also be a dangerous time for those struggling or recovering from substance abuse. Especially during the summer months, it’s important to resist the temptation of making impulsive choices and remember to have fun responsibly.

Summer Surge

During the summer months, both adolescents and adults exhibit a higher inclination to experiment or indulge with alcohol or other substances, according to a study conducted by the NYU School of Medicine. This emphasizes the fact that summer serves as the ideal environment for substance use among individuals of various age groups. The relaxed atmosphere, extended leisure time, and reduced academic responsibilities characteristic of the summer months create an environment conducive to exploration and risk-taking behaviors. With fewer structured routines and increased social interactions, individuals may be more likely to encounter situations or peer influences that prompt them to experiment with or abuse substances they otherwise would not. This finding sheds light on an important aspect of substance use patterns, highlighting the need for increased awareness and prevention efforts during this particular time of the year.

Dangers to Adolescents

Whether they’ve completed their schoolwork for the semester or have longer holiday weekends to enjoy, many adolescents and young adults find themselves with increased free time during the summer. According to the National Survey on Substance Use and Health (NSDUH), the summer months see a peak in first-time substance use for most individuals. In communities with limited prevention resources, these findings highlight crucial opportunities during the summer to introduce activities and events that serve as appealing alternatives to substance use initiation or ongoing use. It emphasizes the significance of parents and caregivers consistently reinforcing messages about the risks associated with alcohol and substance use to their children throughout the year.

Dangers to Adults

After spending the winter cooped up indoors, people long to get outside and enjoy the warm, fresh air during summer. However, the fun activities that come with the season, like backyard barbeques, pool parties, beach gatherings, music concerts, and other festivities, often involve the presence of alcohol or other substances. These have become part of the American tradition and are generally accepted by most people. Moreover, many working parents take vacations at this time of year, escaping the rigid schedules of work and seeking something enjoyable to do. Yet, becoming dependent on substances or alcohol during this time can be disastrous, especially in the summer heat. In fact, the high temperatures of summer can amplify the effects of various substances, including alcohol, ecstasy, or other “party” drugs. This can easily lead to dehydration and even death.

Dangers of DUI

During the summer months, alcohol and other substance abuse can have dire consequences, particularly due to their ability to impair judgment and motor function. The months of June, July, and August record the highest number of traffic fatalities among adolescents, according to the Department of Transportation. Individuals who engage in substance abuse and experimentation are at risk of compromising their developing cognitive functions, resulting in impaired depth perception, timing, and coordination. These impairments can lead to tragic outcomes not only for impaired drivers but also for those affected by their actions. By being mindful of our actions and considering the well-being of ourselves and those around us, we can create lasting summer memories filled with positivity, laughter, and responsible fun.

JADE Wellness Can Help

For many, addiction and abuse can quickly spiral out of control and result in grave consequences. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction to any substance, JADE Wellness is here to help you. JADE Wellness Center is Pittsburgh’s first comprehensive medication-assisted treatment center, also offering individual and group therapy sessions. Call us at 412-380-0100 or visit the JADE Wellness Center website to begin your path to recovery.