Alcohol and Drug Abuse

How to know if you have a problem with alcohol or drugs

You may have already tried alcohol, cigarettes, prescription or over-the-counter medicines, or
illegal drugs. Or you may be thinking of trying them. While some teens try these substances
only a few times and stop, others can’t control their cravings for them and use them to dangerous
excess. This is substance abuse.

Problems caused by alcohol and drugs

Alcohol and drug abuse is a leading cause of teen death or injury related to car crashes, suicides,
violence and drowning. It can increase the risk of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases
(STDs), including HIV/AIDS, due to unprotected sex. Plus, when you abuse alcohol and drugs
as a teen, you’re much more likely to have future alcohol and drug problems.

Even casual use of certain drugs can cause severe health problems, such as brain damage or an
overdose. Many illegal drugs today are made in home labs, so there’s no guarantee of strength
and purity. These drugs can also contain bacteria, chemicals and other dangerous substances.

If you’re abusing alcohol and/or drugs, not only can this seriously damage your health but it can
also lead to many other problems, like losing friends, flunking out (or dropping out) of school,
trouble with your parents and serious legal problems.

We’re here to listen and to help you make smart choices

You may be using alcohol and/or drugs because you want to fit in with friends or certain groups,
or because you like the way they make you feel, or because you think using them makes you
more grown up. At Westchester Health Pediatrics, we understand, and we want you to know that
we care about you and the choices you make, as well as about your health.

What is discussed with us stays with us

Please come in and talk to us about any aspect of alcohol and drugs — we will keep it confidential.
If together, we decide you need some help, we’ll give you some options for that, too.

Most of all, we want to help you be healthy and happy in any way we can.