Under the Influence of Parents

Children of marijuana users much more likely to start using marijuana at a young age, new Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation survey finds.

PLYMOUTH, MINN. (September 18, 2014) Children of parents who have used marijuana are more than three times more likely to use it themselves. That's according to a new nationwide survey of youth ages 18 to 25 commissioned by the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation's Center for Public Advocacy.

"We commissioned this survey to get a better understanding of marijuana using habits and attitudes among young adults," said Mark Sheets, interim executive director of Hazelden at Plymouth, part of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. "This information allows us to better educate people about the health- and addiction-related dangers associated with marijuana."

Survey highlights:

  • Parents still have a big influence over their children when it comes to using marijuana.
  • More than 60 percent of marijuana users don't think it's addictive or damaging to the brain.
  • One in 10 surveyed report being high at school and while driving, on a daily basis.
  • Colorado numbers mirror the rest of the country, even though recreational marijuana is now legal in Colorado.

"What we learned from the survey is deeply concerning," said Nick Motu, vice president of the Center for Public Advocacy of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, "because according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, marijuana is addictive and delays brain development in adolescents. The damage can be permanent."

Survey findings:

Parental influence – Among children who reported their parents have used or currently use marijuana, 72% indicated they have used marijuana. Conversely, 19.7% of children whose parents have never used marijuana reported having used marijuana themselves. Among the youth who use marijuana, 15.1% said they started using it before the age of 14, 34.9% started using between ages 14 and 16, and 36.3 started using between ages 17 and 19.

Addiction and Brain Damage –  Among young adult participants overall (users and non-users), 40.2% think marijuana is not addictive, 36.3% think it is not damaging to the brain, and 33.7% think edible marijuana is safer than smoking marijuana. Among young adult marijuana users, the percentages are 60.5% (think it's not addictive), 60.8% (think it doesn't damage the brain), and 48.5% (think eating marijuana is safer than smoking it).

Greater use of other drugs – Among young adults who have used marijuana, 73.6% have used alcohol, 26.1% have used prescription drugs not prescribed for them, 17.8% have used ecstasy, 15.8% have used cocaine, 15.8% have used hallucinogens, 10.6% have used amphetamines and 4.1% have used heroin. Among non-marijuana users surveyed, the numbers are 29.2% (alcohol), 6.5% (prescription drugs), 0.5% (ecstasy), 1.0% (cocaine), 0.7% (hallucinogens), 0.9% (amphetamines) and 1.0% (heroin).

Marijuana Users Are Much More Likely to Use Other Drugs Than Non-users
(U.S. Young Adults Ages 18 to 25)

Marijuana Users Are Much More Likely to Use Other Drugs Than Non-users: U.S. Young Adults Ages 18 to 25

Survey completed August 8, 2014, for Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, by Q Market Research, Eagan, Minnesota.
1,051 responses geographically representative of U.S. young adults ages 18 to 25. Results are statistically valid
(at a 95% confidence level) to within +/- 2.9%.

High while driving, in school and at work
Among the respondents who indicated they have used marijuana, 33.1% said they have driven while high, 35.1% said they have been high at school, and 23.1% said they have been high at work. Roughly one in 10 surveyed reported being high at school and while driving on a daily basis.

High while driving, in school and at work Graph

One in five U.S. young adults report having been high at school, driven high and worked high.
Survey completed August 8, 2014, for Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, by Q Market Research, Eagan, Minnesota.
1,051 responses geographically representative of U.S. young adults ages 18 to 25. Results are statistically valid
(at a 95% confidence level) to within +/- 2.9%.

Frequency of use
Shockingly, 1 in 5 of the young adults surveyed (19.9%) reported using marijuana daily.
Nearly 10% use marijuana weekly and another 10% use marijuana monthly.
Marijuana Frequency of Use Chart

Survey completed August 8, 2014, for Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, by Q Market Research, Eagan, Minnesota.
1,051 responses geographically representative of U.S. young adults ages 18 to 25. Results are statistically valid (at a 95% confidence level) to within +/- 2.9%.

Rocky Mountain High – Colorado recently legalized marijuana. Our survey found that 48.7% of young adults surveyed in Colorado admitted they have used marijuana compared to 40.7% of the rest of the country. In addition, 24.0% of the youth surveyed in Colorado use marijuana daily compared to 18.8% of the rest of the country.

The survey of 1,051 young adults ages 18 – 25 living in the United States was conducted by Q Market Research. Overall results obtained from the survey are statistically valid (at a 95% confidence level) to within +/- 2.9%.

See the Survey Results
Download the results of Hazelden's 2014 Attitudes on Marijuana Survey: Young Adults Aged 18 - 25.

About the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation
The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is a force of healing and hope for individuals, families and communities affected by addiction to alcohol and other drugs. 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 15 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 to help youth and adults reclaim their lives from the disease of addiction. It includes the largest recovery publishing house in the country, a fully accredited graduate school of addiction studies, an addiction research center, and 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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