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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

BU Study: Recreational Drug Use on Weekends Can Morph into Daily Use

More than half of patients who report “weekend-only” drug use end up expanding their drug use to weekdays, too — suggesting that primary care clinicians should monitor patients who acknowledge “recreational” drug use, says a new study by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researchers.

The study, published in the journal Annals of Family Medicine and led by Dr. Judith Bernstein, professor of community health sciences at BUSPH, recommends that clinicians use “caution in accepting recreational drug use as reassuring,” and that they conduct “continued episodic monitoring” of patients who report weekend-only drug use.

The study followed 483 patients at Boston Medical Center who reported using drugs in the previous month and who completed a follow-up visit six months later. Of those who reported weekend-only use initially, only 19.2 percent retained that pattern six months later, while 54 percent were using drugs on other days of the week. Drugs most commonly used included marijuana, cocaine, and opioids.

“These findings suggest the importance of periodic monitoring of ‘recreational’ drug use,” the study says. “A single-question standardized screen can be used to elicit necessary information.

To read more about the study, go to: