WERNERSVILLE, Pa. — Marijuana legalization continues to be a front-and-center topic for many left-leaning states. Now a recent survey shows that more than a quarter of Americans would actually smoke pot with their children once they reach adulthood.
Would you share a joint with your child if they were 18 years or older? That question was posed to 2,184 parents in an online survey commissioned by Caron Treatment Centers. In the survey, 26 percent of those parents — 692 of whom have children between the ages of six and 25 years old — claimed they would.
“Parents are more comfortable smoking marijuana with their young adult children than smoking a cigarette,” says Dr. Joseph Garbely, Caron’s Medical Director, in a press release. “Many people don’t realize that marijuana today is radically more potent than it was years ago and can have a significant impact on the developing brain. Parents who didn’t experience consequences from prior use may not be aware of the difference. That creates misperceptions and a dangerously permissive message to their children.”
Perhaps it’s not all that surprising that 73% of adults between the ages of 18 and 34 believe alcohol is more dangerous than marijuana. That number drops considerably — down to 53% — for adults over 65.
In terms of attitudes on other commonly used drugs, 13% of the parents surveyed said they thought it was okay for their child to occasionally use prescription painkillers, despite the national opioid epidemic devastating communities. While marijuana and opioids have their risks, especially to young and developing brains, it’s estimated that four out of every five heroin users in the U.S. today started using opioid painkillers before moving on to heroin.
Meanwhile, 87% of respondents knew alcohol is addictive and 63% saw marijuana as addictive. Those numbers are fairly consistent for those surveyed who think that the drugs are bad for one’s health and brain. The survey also found 45% of the respondents thought marijuana was an acceptable alternative to opioid painkillers for pain management medication.
Thankfully, about three quarters of parents believe it’s important to talk to older children about prescription painkiller abuse — yet for some reason, a greater number — nearly 9 in 10 — hold conversations with their kids about alcohol, recreational drugs, and and safe sex.
“We’re encouraged that most Americans recognize the importance of dialogue with their children, but parents need to be having conversations about the dangers of marijuana,” says Tammy Granger, Caron’s Vice President of Education. “Marijuana can be extremely detrimental to adolescent brain development, which is why Caron Treatment Centers believes recreational marijuana use should remain illegal for those under 25.”
The survey was conducted on behalf of Caron Treatment Centers by Harris Poll.