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

Feb 13, 2015


Hazelden Betty Ford -  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.
The complete survey is attached.  Dr. Kistenmacher and other Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation clinical experts are available for interviews on it. 

“If you choose to consume, please do so responsibly.” 

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