Get Help: Teens
New York State anonymous, toll-free HOPEline:
If you suspect that you might have a problem with alcohol, other drugs or gambling, or you know a teen who does, use our confidential contact form, contact CASAC at 664-3608 or call The National Drug and Alcohol Treatment Referral Routing Service at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
Anyone of any age who is experiencing a personal, emotional or mental health crisis can call Chautauqua Crisis Services 24 hours a day: 1-800-724-0461.
You are not alone!
“I’m 17 years old and never could have imagined that I’d be an alcoholic.”
If you suspect that you or a friend may have a problem with alcohol or other drugs, you are not alone. Over 23 million people are struggling with an addiction today.
Is it my fault? Kids abuse tobacco, alcohol, street and prescription drugs for many reasons. It’s much more helpful to identify why you are using them and find help—rather than placing blame on yourself or others.
Why do I have a problem with drugs or alcohol?
There are a lot of reasons why people use alcohol and other drugs. It is most important to identify and solve the underlying problem leading you to experiment or abuse these substances before you become addicted.
You probably know better than anyone just why you drink or use drugs. Each kid has his/her own reasons. Adults tend to assume that kids use drugs because they have low self-esteem, are responding to peer pressure or are imitating or reacting to their parents’ own behavior. But this may not always be true.
Life is stressful. Many adults come home from work and immediately have a drink, smoke a joint or pop a pill in order to feel relaxed. Kids experience the same stress that adults do and try similar things to “chill out.” The younger you are when you begin experimenting with drugs or alcohol, the better your chances are likely to be of developing a problem. That’s why it’s important to understand why you’re attracted to substances like tobacco, alcohol or other drugs and to get help now.
Here are some of the reasons kids have told us that they abuse tobacco, alcohol, street and prescription drugs:
- Using drugs and/or alcohol gives them a sense of belonging to a group.
- It helps them cope with stress, anxiety and conflicts.
- It gives them pleasure (creating positive emotions).
- It makes them feel more creative (enhancing their insight and imagination).
- It lowers inhibitions and makes them more assertive verbally, physically or sexually.
There are other ways of experiencing, coping, creating, feeling good, and belonging without drinking and using drugs. If you want to stop drinking or using drugs, you will have to examine the reasons you began in the first place or continue to use them.
Be honest with yourself. Denial is a big factor in substance abuse and addiction. Substance abusers spend a lot of time, even years, denying that they have an abuse problem, or an underlying problem that may be leading to the abuse. This is because they don’t see any other way out.
Resources for Teens
Remember: there are a lot of teenagers who are dealing with this very same problem. You don't have to feel alone anymore. Reach out for help!
There are many places to turn for help with substance abuse including CASAC at 664-3608 and the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment Hotline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
Visit the National Association for Children of Alcoholics or Alateen web sites for more information and help, or check out the online resources below. Your parent can also seek help by calling NCADI at 1-800-788-2800.
- Alateen recovery program for teenagers
- Above The Influence
- TeensHealth: Drugs & Alcohol
- PBS: It's My Life
- NIDA for Teens
- Boys Town
- National Association for Children of Alcoholics