PRINCETON (June 4, 2014) — One in four young adult men in Texas reported driving under the influence of alcohol or marijuana, according to a new survey conducted by The Dallas Marketing Group on behalf of Caron Texas. Just as disturbing, the survey found that 55 percent of respondents report one or more of their friends smoke or consume marijuana on a daily basis. Caron Texas recently launched a dedicated treatment program for young adult men to focus on the growing need for specialized treatment for this group. Caron Texas is part of the Caron Treatment Centers network, a leader and nationally recognized non-profit provider of alcohol and drug addiction treatment.

The online survey, conducted in April 2014, polled more than 500 Texas males ages 18-25 to examine their perception of alcohol and drug use, their personal use, and their observations of use among their friends. Caron’s findings are consistent with recent Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) research showing that nationally, marijuana and prescription drug abuse are a growing epidemic among adolescents and young adults and that many do not understand the associated dangers and consequences.

“The survey results highlight the disparity between what individuals report about themselves and what they observe among their friends,” says John Dakin, PhD, Clinical Director of Caron Texas. “Sometimes individuals may be reluctant to acknowledge their destructive behaviors. However in Caron’s experience, parents should pay attention to what their young adult’s peer group is doing because it could be a critical sign that their child is in danger. Treatment offers individuals the opportunity to create new, positive peer groups.”

Key research findings include:

  • 70% report that their friends smoke or consume marijuana while 41% of respondents admit to smoking or consuming marijuana themselves
  • 55% report having one or more friends who smoke or consume marijuana on a daily basis while 21% admit to smoking or consuming marijuana on a daily basis themselves
  • Nearly one in three respondents (31%) believe it’s acceptable to smoke or consume marijuana daily
  • 54% report that their friends drink alcohol on a daily basis while 16% say they personally imbibe everyday – which rises to 22% personally in the 22-25 age bracket
  • 38% report that their friends abuse prescription drugs without a prescription. 18% (Nearly one in five) have taken prescription medication that wasn’t prescribed. 19% personally abused either anxiety medication or ADD/ADHD medication (or both).
  • One in three (33%) report their friends use party drugs, like Ecstasy or Molly, while more than one in ten (11%) used party drugs themselves
  • Of those who abused alcohol and/or drugs, 27% smoked or consumed marijuana, 23% drank alcohol, and 22% smoked or consumed marijuana daily, before the age of 15
  • One out of seven respondents (14%) report having one or more friends who use heroin (2% report using it themselves)
  • 36% report having a family member who suffers from addiction

Risky Behaviors Have an Impact:

  • 56% report having one or more friends who drive after three drinks with 24% personally admitting to driving after three drinks
  • 46% report knowing one or more friends who have had unprotected sex as a result of intoxication with nearly one out of five (19%) personally admitting to having had unprotected sex as a result of intoxication
  • Nearly one in four (23%) have driven after using marijuana
  • Of those who have used alcohol or drugs: One in five report the following embarrassing consequences (drunk texting, sexting, sending inappropriate photos), missing classes or assignments, and blackouts
  • 15% experienced strained family relationships as a result of substance abuse
  • 14% experienced strained or loss of friendships
  • 13% reported break-ups
  • 5% reported a car accident and/or job loss

“With more than one in three (36%) respondents reporting that they have a family member who suffers from addiction, we clearly have a significant public health issue on our hands,” said Mike Puls, Vice President and Executive Director of Caron Texas. “Addiction is a family disease and it impacts future generations unless individuals and families receive treatment. That’s why our Young Adult Male Program requires families to participate in our five-day Family Education Program when their child is in treatment. Families are able to learn about the disease of addiction, how to take care of themselves separately from their addicted child, and engage in therapeutic activities with their young adult that greatly improves longer term recovery.”

Michael Fowler, a recovering addict, has experienced firsthand the significance of treatment for alcohol and drug addiction. Fowler is now nearly nine years sober and works on special projects and community relations for Caron. He believes that no one has to “hit bottom” to seek help.

“Many of our young men in treatment at Caron now have an opportunity to recover before they experience any life-altering consequences,” said Fowler. “That is what we want families to understand – that early intervention is critical.”

As a leader in treating men between the ages of 18 and 25, Caron understands the benefits of specialized programs that are gender and age specific. Caron has found that there is a significant benefit to treating young men who are “caught” in a developmental phase between adolescence and adulthood separately from older adults. The program focuses on chemical dependency treatment, specialized programming, and life skills training that are age appropriate.


About Caron Texas

Caron Texas, just 40 miles north of Dallas, opened its doors in July 2010 and provides comprehensive, high-quality, gender-specific residential addiction treatment to adults and young adults in Texas and the Southwest. Caron Texas participates with many insurance carriers by accepting out-of-network insurance benefits. Caron Texas is part of the Caron Treatment Centers network, which has nearly 60 years of experience in the field. The 28,000-square-foot facility is set on 40 acres and offers many amenities for patients and their families, such as a 14,000-square-foot fitness center and swimming pool, in a serene and secluded setting. Follow Caron Texas on Twitter at @CaronTX.