New York College Students Fail to Grasp Dangers of Marijuana, Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation Survey Reveals

NEW YORK, NY (Feb. 12, 2015) —The nation's leading nonprofit addiction treatment organization surveyed the attitudes of New York college students about marijuana use and found that:

  • An overwhelming majority of respondents (77%) believe marijuana ought to be legalized
  • About half (50%) believe legalizing marijuana makes it seem safer
  • Nearly 41% believe marijuana is not addictive despite studies to the contrary
  • Some 35% do not believe marijuana is damaging to the brain
  • Over 45% believe marijuana use leads to other drug use
  • Over half (50.8%) think legalizing marijuana for recreational use will make it more accessible to minors

"The nationwide movement to legalize marijuana is clearly influencing the perceptions that college students here in New York have about the drug," said Barbara Kistenmacher, Ph.D., executive director of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation's New York City treatment centers.

"Marijuana's impact on the still developing youth brain can have a lifelong negative impact," continued Kistenmacher. "We want to see college students living healthy and happy lives and staying motivated to learn as much as they can during this critically important period of their development."

Among the other findings of the survey, which was commissioned by the Foundation's Center for Public Advocacy, are:

  • Thirty-nine percent of respondents use marijuana at times, while 28 percent use it regularly (daily or weekly).
  • About 60 percent of the students said the "biggest advantage" of using marijuana is that "you don't get a hangover," and they further believe that the effects of marijuana are less harmful than alcohol.
  • About one in three users of marijuana report going to class high.
  • Students whose parents used marijuana are less likely to understand the harmful effects of the drug.

The survey also found that New York college students who use marijuana are:

  • 10 times more likely to misuse prescription medicine
  • 10 times more likely to use cocaine
  • 15 times more likely to use hallucinogens and Ecstasy
  • 7 times more likely to use amphetamines

The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation operates two addiction treatment clinics in Manhattan, including one in Tribeca that offers recovery housing for college-age young adults.

Download the Attitudes on Marijuana Survey: Young Adults Ages 18 to 25 in the New York Area who Attend College

About the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation
The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation helps people reclaim their lives from the disease of addiction. It is the nation's largest nonprofit treatment provider, with a legacy that began in 1949 and includes the 1982 founding of the Betty Ford Center. With 16 sites in California, Minnesota, Oregon, Illinois, New York, Florida, Massachusetts, Colorado and Texas, the Foundation offers prevention and recovery solutions nationwide and across the entire continuum of care for youth and adults. It includes the largest recovery publishing house in the country, a fully-accredited graduate school of addiction studies, an addiction research center, an education arm for medical professionals and a unique children's program, and is the nation's leader in advocacy and policy for treatment and recovery.

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