Alcohol and Drugs

  • Alcohol and Drugs

    It may feel like everyone around you is drinking and doing drugs. It seems pretty normal and like a fun thing to do. However, that is not really true- only a minority of teens are drinking and doing drugs. Beyond dangerous physical effects, drugs and alcohol can damage your social life and future life plans, especially if you become addicted. As a teen or young adult, your brain is still growing and drug and alcohol use can have lasting damaging effects.

    While this section provides information from many different sources on drugs and drug abuse, be wary of hotlines from different resources. Stick to the resources we have listed here or we have listed directly on the different sections, as we cannot confirm that some of the hotlines advertised on websites are reputable.

  • What is substance abuse or addiction?

     What is substance abuse or addiction?

    According to the World Health Organization (WHO), substance abuse is the harmful use of psychoactive substances, including alcohol and illicit drugs. This use can lead to a physical dependence on the drug where your body craves it, regardless of harmful consequences. (Source:

    Addiction is serious- if you are addicted to any drug, regardless of severity, seeking treatment now is most important to avoid long-term consequences.

  • Do you know about the Good Samaritan Law?

    The Good Samaritan Law, which is in effect in New York as well as other states, protects the person who calls 911 on a friend who is overdosing or has alcohol poisoning from getting in legal trouble for using drugs or drinking alcohol themselves.

    For example, if you are at a party and someone has alcohol poisoning and is in a dangerous state, you can call 911 to save that person’s life. However, you and other witnesses will not get in legal trouble for underage drinking. Similar rules stand for other drugs as well. The use protected under the law, including underage drinking, is:

    • Up to 8 ounces of narcotics (heroin, codeine, pain medications)
    • Any amount of marijuana
    • Having paraphernalia on you (such as a joint or bong)
    • Sharing drugs

    This law is meant to prevent accidental overdose deaths where people are around to help. So remember- if your friend is in a dangerous situation with drugs or alcohol, don’t be afraid to call 911! You will be protected and might save your friend’s life!

    For more information: 911 Good Samaritan: Explaining New York's Fatal Overdose Prevention Law -Drug Policy Analysis

  • Where to get help in Rockland

    Where to get help in Rockland

    All of these locations provide various substance abuse therapies for drugs and alcohol including: individual and group counseling, treatment, assessment, monitoring, psychiatry, and resources help you in other parts of your life.

    “Inpatient” means you are living in a special medical or treatment center for a period of time in order to receive substance abuse treatment. “Outpatient” means you are not; you are receiving care and treatment while still living at home.

    Remember that you can always talk to a school counselor for help as well if you can't (or think you can't) talk to your parents.

    General Hotlines

    National Treatment Referral Helpline

    • Can help you figure out where to go for help for a drug problem.
    • 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
    • This service does not offer counseling, but will lead you to treatment options nearby.

    National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

    • 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
    • Can help with substance abuse

    New York State Hopeline

    • 1-877-8-HOPENY
    • Available 24/7
    • For alcoholism, drug abuse, or gambling addictions
    • Trained doctors in multiple languages
    • Will talk with you about your problems and refer you to further treatment
    • Some of the resources listed do not offer counseling but treatment for your drug abuse problem. Some offer both. For just counseling, visit or contact one of these resources.
    • Some of these resources will require you to tell your parents. If keeping your use confidential is important to you, consider calling and asking about their policies for minors (teens under 18).

    Rockland Council on Alcoholism & Other Drug Dependence, Inc. (RCADD)

    • 25 Smith Street, Suite 101
    • Nanuet, New York 10954
    • 845-215-9788
    • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
    • Weekly self-help meetings for families and friends of addicts (Nar-Anon), recovery, Narcotics Anonymous
    • Self-help library
    • Teen Intervene Program- sessions with teen and their family for the youth to reduce substance use and learn better communication skills. Call
    • 845-215-9788 ext. 25.

    Smart Recovery Program- support group to help people recover from addiction and addictive behaviors. Meets Wednesdays 7-8:30pm. 

    Nyack Hospital Recovery Center

    • 160 North Midland Avenue Nyack, NY 10960
    • 845-348-2075 –Info and Admission
    • 845-348-6760 – Outpatient Site
    • 845-356-0081 Spring Valley Outpatient Site
      (110 Bethune BoulevardSpring Valley, NY)
    • Outpatient services for adolescents 14-17, other services for adults. Includes treatment, individual and group treatment, education, and family support.

    Lexington Center for Recovery Inc.

    • 845-947-3810 –West Haverstraw location
    • 45 Route 9W South Suite 209 Samsondale Plaza
      (also an Airmont location)
    • Separate substance abuse programs for adolescents 16 and over. Counseling, treatment, psychiatric assessment, family treatment.
    • Substance abuse support groups for those 18-25

    Daytop Village Inc

    • 620 Route 303 Blauvelt, NY
    • 845-353-2730, 1-800-2DAYTOP (1-800-232-9867)
    • Outpatient & residential programs for young adults 12-21

    Mental Health Association of Rockland County, Inc. (MHA)

    • 845-267-2172
    • Recovery Services Program for substance abuse/chemical dependency for adolescents and young adults. Call: 845-267-2172, x225
    • Outpatient services to children and adolescents 5-18. Other services available to those 18+
    • Reach One/Peer Recovery Center specialists can offer support to overcome addiction issues.

    Arms Acres

    • 845-225-3400
    • For intake: 888-227-4641
    • Inpatient residential treatment for alcohol or drug addicted adolescents 12+.

    Adolescent brochure

    Open Arms

    • 12 E. Kensington Circle, Garnerville, NY
    • 845-429-0945
    • Safe, sober residential facilities for those over 18. Provides peer and staff support. Halfway houses in Haverstraw.
    • Contact for information on admission

    Rockland County Department of Mental Health- Summit Park Hospital

    • Outpatient treatment for individuals of any age with co-occurring mental and substance abuse disorders

    Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center- Chemical Dependency Inpatient Unit

    • 255 Lafayette Avenue Suffern, NY
    • Smoking cessation program- for individual consultation call 845-368-5272
    • Inpatient rehab program for drug and alcohol abusers including detox, support groups, education, therapy, and rehabilitation. Call 845-368-5242 for admissions.
  • Alcohol

    Alcohol is one of the more common substances you will probably come into contact with, maybe even in your own house. As you likely know, the drinking age is 21 and drinking alcohol under that age is illegal, even if you’re with older friends. Read more about New York State laws on underage drinking here:

    Alcohol may seem fun at first. However, if you are drinking, especially in large amounts, you are damaging your body. The drinking age is 21 for a reason- your brain is not yet fully developed during your teens. Beyond age, alcohol is dangerous because it lowers your coordination, judgment, and memory, and at high amounts can be deadly. Read about different kinds of risks that may come with drinking alcohol.

    Drunk Driving

    Drunk driving or even “tipsy” driving is extremely dangerous. In 2013, over 10,000 people were killed in driving accidents that involved someone driving drunk (CDC). Beyond risking your and others’ lives, take note of the Zero Tolerance law- if you are driving with any percentage of alcohol in your blood and are under 21, you will be charged. The charge and penalty for drunk driving will depend on the amount of alcohol in your blood.

    Just don’t do it. If you know you will be drinking, arrange a designated sober driver, call a taxi, or ask your parents to pick you up. Your parents would rather know that you were drinking and be a little angry than have you get behind the wheel of a car drunk.

    Read more about Zero Tolerance and drinking and driving here:

    Drunk Sex

    Drunk sex is risky sex for multiple reasons. You and your partner are less likely to be careful and use protection. Drunk sex is also risky because consenting to sex or any sexual activity while under the influence can be shaky.

    Read more about why drunk sex can be risky, and likely less enjoyable. Sex, Alcohol, and Drugs -Planned Parenthood

    Drunk sex increases the risk of becoming pregnant because you and your partner are less likely to think about protection while under the influence. This can be especially dangerous because if you or your partner do get pregnant, alcohol during pregnancy, even before you know you are pregnant, can be very dangerous to the fetus. This can result in various defects and developmental disorders for your baby, called Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). Read more about FASD here: Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) -OASAS 

    Although teens drink less often than adults, when they do drink they drink in large amounts. This is called binge drinking- defined as 5 or more drinks for a boy or 4 or more drinks for a girl. Binge Drinking –Teens Health

    Do you think you have a drinking problem?

    Look at these resources for substance abuse help available in Rockland:

    Alcohol Hotlines

    Rockland County Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)

    • 24/7 hotline for alcoholic support (843) 352-1112
    • Meeting list on website:
    • National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence
    • 24/7 hotline for substance abuse and alcoholism: 811-622-2255
    • NYS Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS)
    • 24/7 hotline for alcohol, drug, and gambling addictions- 1-877-8-HOPENY (1-877-846-7369)

    Do you think a friend is drinking too much?

    If you think your friend might have a drinking problem, be a real friend and try to help them. Some of the links here might help you bring up the topic. While they may be defensive or embarrassed, perhaps show them some of the resources on this site and direct them to these places where they can get help. While you cannot force someone to get help, providing them with the ways to do so can be helpful. However, if you are seriously concerned about a friend’s well-being or mental state, be sure to tell a parent, teacher, school counselor, or other trusted adult.

  • Tobacco

    Tobacco is the drug in cigarettes or smokeless tobacco (“dip” or “snuff”). It is well known that tobacco is dangerous, especially for your lungs, and that smoking cigarettes is a main cause of some cancers. Tobacco is extremely addictive due to a substance in it called nicotine . This makes it hard to quit even after just one cigarette which is why it’s best to never even start. Read all up on tobacco and the dangers of a smoking addiction below.

    Also provides information on E-Cigarettes: Tobacco, Nicotine, & E-Cigarettes -NIDA for Teens

    Includes Rockland specific resources: Put It Out Rockland

    About tobacco addiction: Is Smoking Tobacco Really Addictive? –American Cancer Society

    Read more about the bad effects smoking has on your body, your mind, and your appearance: Health Effects -Teen Smoke Free

    Secondhand smoke

    Maybe you’re not smoking, but being around friends or family who smoke is almost just as bad for you. Breathing in smoke from those around you who are smoking is called secondhand smoke. Read more about it here.

    To avoid secondhand smoke, avoid being around people who smoke and areas where smoking is allowed. If people try to smoke around you, mention that it makes you cough and that you would prefer if they didn’t.


    It is popular to use other tobacco products such as hookah and e-cigarettes, often under the impression that these are fine for your body. Because many of these products are new, the full health consequences are unknown. Health experts do advise to not use these products, many of which contain nicotine and other addictive substances. Read more up on them and why to avoid using e-cigarettes.

    You know by now tobacco is bad for you, but how do you quit once you start? Check out these hotlines and resources in Rockland County that can help guide you through quitting. Also read up on these articles with different methods and products smokers use to slowly stop their addiction.

    Products to Quit

    Hotlines for Help to Quit

    Places in Rockland to Help Quit
    (check out the comprehensive list of substance abuse help in Rockland here)

    Rockland County Dept of Health

    • “Put it Out Rockland” to help with quitting
    • (845) 364-2651
    • Support groups

    Good Samaritan Hospital

    • 255 Lafayette Ave. (Route 59), Suffern, NY.
    • Smoking cessation program- for individual consultation call (845) 368-5272
  • Marijuana

    Marijuana, commonly called “weed” or “pot” is popular to get high. While marijuana is often seen as harmless, it can actually have addictive and damaging effects due to its main chemical or active ingredient, THC, which affects the brain. Smoking marijuana also damages your lungs by causing a buildup of tar that has been found to be worse than the buildup from cigarettes.

    Marijuana inhibits your self- control.The things you think are a good idea while high can be dangerous and risky, such as other drugs or sex.

    Beyond effects on your body and decisions, marijuana is illegal in New York State (unless you have a medical prescription) and possession of it or appearing high can lead to severe legal consequences. Furthermore, many employers, even for teen part-time jobs, drug test and coming up as positive for marijuana or any other substance will risk you not getting the job, as well as potential legal trouble.

    Read more up on marijuana here:

    Read more on the dangers of driving while high: Marijuana Short and Long Term Effects

    I Think my Friend or Family Member is Smoking Too Much Marijuana

    I Think I’m Smoking Too Much Marijuana

    includes an assessment to see how problematic your use is

    For help, look at this list of places in Rockland to get help to overcome your substance abuse. Also:

    • Marijuana Anonymous of Rockland
    • Help line (845) 405-6649

    For group meeting times and places (in Nyack and Valley Cottage):

  • Cocaine/Crack


    Also called “coke”, “snow”, “blow”, “powder”, “lines”, or “rock”, cocaine refers to both the powder form, cocaine, and the crystal or rock form, crack. Cocaine gives a user a short-term high that then leads to an intense depression.

    Cocaine affects the brain by altering your pleasure centers so that users need to continue to use to feel normal and happy. This is what makes the drug extremely addictive. Physically, cocaine makes you anxious, increases your heart rate, and can lead to seizures, heart attacks, and death, even if it’s your first time using it. Cocaine is illegal and getting caught with cocaine in any form will lead to legal consequences.

    Help for you or a cocaine-addicted friend or family member

    Treatment for Cocaine Abusers -NIH– about the different types of treatments available for those who are addicted to cocaine

    Signs and Symptoms of Cocaine Abuse -Narconon–signs that a friend might have a cocaine problem

    Look here for substance abuse resources for help to quit in Rockland

  • MDMA (Ecstasy, Molly)

    Also called E, X, XTC, Ecstasy and Molly, MDMA is in a class of “club drugs” because they are popular at nightclubs and raves. MDMA is often taken in a pill or capsule form. It is a stimulant that makes users hyper and gives more intense sensations, such as an enhanced sense of touch.

    The drug can cause negative effects such as anxiety, sweating, and dizziness. High levels of MDMA in the body can affect the heart leading to seizures, extremely high body temperatures, and possibly death. If a friend has taken Ecstasy or Molly and is showing dangerous signs, call 911.

    It is unknown at this point if MDMA is chemically addictive. However, users can become dependent on the drug and feel symptoms of withdrawal if they continue to use the drug regularly.

    Any form of MDMA or other “club drugs” are illegal. New forms of MDMA and similar drugs come out all the time. It is important to be aware that most ecstasy pills are not actually pure MDMA but laced with many other potentially dangerous drugs, such as meth. Don’t just accept a pill thinking you know what it is and that it will be safe.

    Includes information on the dangers of driving while under the influence

    Contact one of these resources or hotlines for help if you or a friend is using Ecstasy or Molly too much.

  • Cold and Cough Medicine Abuse

    Cold and Cough Medicine Abuse (DXM, Codeine, Purple Lean)

    Also called DXM, Purple Lean, Sizzurp, Purple Drank, or skittles, drugs and drug mixtures containing codeine, dextromethorphan, and other chemicals found in cough or cold syrup are popular and dangerous. Cold and cough syrup is not safe just because it sold over the counter.

    Taking more than the recommended amount of cough syrups, especially when you are not sick, makes the user feel relaxed, high, and separated from their body or environment. However, this abuse can affect your heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure. Using codeine cough syrup can slow down your body systems including the heart and lungs, leading to death.

    Repeated abuse of cold and cough medicine can cause addiction.

    If you or a friend is abusing cough or cold medicine, it is important to stop and get help before it is too late. Contact one of these resources.

  • Methamphetamines (Meth)

    Methamphetamines (Meth)

    Also called Meth, Speed, Chalk, Crystal, or Ice, Methamphetamine is an extremely addictive stimulant drug, meaning that it boosts your mood and alertness. However, this comes with dangerous effects such as raising your heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature which can lead to death. Meth is in powder or pill form, and is sometimes made into a shiny rock (crystal meth).

    Users experience a rush of pleasure, followed by a depression. Effects on the brain, even after you stop using meth can persist. Meth destroys nerve cells causing long-term effects.

    Meth is illegal and very addictive, even after just using it once. Because meth is a street drug, made underground in illicit labs, no two doses are the same or “standard”, so you don’t really know what toxic substances are in it. Use poses risks for STDs and HIV due to risky behaviors that come along with being under the influence, such as unprotected sex and sharing needles to use the drug.

    Includes signs of addiction

    If you or a friend is using and addicted to meth it is essential to get help now. Meth is one of the most dangerous drug addictions to have and ending this addiction is essential to continuing to live and having a good quality of life into the future. Contact one of these resources in Rockland.

  • Prescription Pill Abuse

    Abusing prescription pills means taking pills that are not prescribed for you, or taking pills at a dose or in a way that is different from how it was prescribed. Opioids, depressants, and stimulants are all often abused. When a doctor makes a prescription, it is because an individual has a particular condition that requires the medicine. The prescription is specific based on the person’s weight, height, other medications, and extent of the condition. When a pill is taken in a way that was not intended by the doctor, it can be very dangerous.

    Opioids are painkillers. Those commonly abused are Vicodin, oxycontin, or codeine (link). Abusers use opioids to feel happy and relaxed but abuse can lead to sleepiness, confusion, and breathing problems that can cause death. You can become addicted to opioids.

    Depressants are “downers” such as valium or Xanax. They are often abused to feel relaxed or help an individual sleep. However, this can lead to shallow and slow breathing, and disorientation which can lead to death, especially if combined with other drugs. You can become addicted to abusing depressants.

    Stimulants are “uppers” such as Adderall and Ritalin. This makes the user feel extremely alert. Many abusers use stimulants for studying in hoping that the drug will make them learn faster. An abuser is at risk for increased blood pressure, heartbeat, body temperature, seizures, paranoia, and possibly death. You can become addicted to abusing stimulants.

    If you or a friend is abusing prescription drugs, contact one of these resources to get help now.

  • Inhalants

    Inhalants are chemicals found in ordinary household products that people breathe in in order to get high. These chemicals, if purposefully inhaled, can be dangerous and cause brain damage.

    Also called snappers, poppers, whippets, or huffing. People often inhale objects such as paint thinner, gasoline, nail polish remover, markers, paints, hair spray, computer duster spray, and anesthesias used for pain relief, commonly called laughing gas.

    Quickly after inhaling the user feels dizzy and euphoric (happy). This only lasts a couple seconds. A user may inhale the chemical rapidly to continue the feeling, which leads to dangerous levels and cuts off oxygen to the brain. This can cause death. Using inhalants leads to long-term brain and nerve damage.

    If you or a friend is using inhalants/huffing, use one of these resources to get help now.

  • Hallucinogens

    Hallucinogens (LSD, Mushrooms, Ecstasy)

    Hallucinogens affect the way you perceive the world and reality. They cause you to imagine things, voices, and feelings that do not really exist. Hallucinogens include ecstasy (link), LSD, acid, magic mushrooms/ shrooms, PCP, Angel Dust. All of these have similar effects although they may be taken differently.

    Hallucinogens raise your heart rate and blood pressure. This can lead to coma, organ failure, and possibly death.

    Hallucinogens can affect your emotions by making your paranoid and scared of things that do not exist. This can be scary and dangerous. Having a “bad trip” can cause flashbacks for years after.

    If you or a friend is using hallucinogens too much, get help now. Contact one of these resources.

  • Heroin

    Also known as “Smack”, “Dope”, “Junk, or “Black Tar”, heroin is one of the most dangerous drugs due to its mind altering abilities and strong addictiveness. Heroin is typically injected with a needle, but can also be smoked or snorted. Heroin use poses risks for HIV/AIDS if users are sharing needles.

    Heroin users experience a rush of happiness and feel relaxed and clouded. Because heroin slows your breathing down, this can lead to stopped breathing, a coma, or death. A heroin overdose is one of the most common drug abuse deaths and is a medical emergency.

    The intense and quick high from heroin leads to dependence and addiction with a user constantly seeking more. This can happen even after one use. Heroin causes long-term brain, and possibly other organ damage.

    If you or a friend are using heroin, it is a slippery slope. Heroin is an extremely dangerous drug and you should contact one of these resources for help now. Also consider:

    Narcotics Anonymous- RCADD

    • Saturdays 7-8pm at Nanuet Pavillon, 25 Smith Street Suite 101, Nanuet, NY. 


    Methadone is a drug that is in the same family of drugs as heroin (opioid). It is used as a treatment for recovering heroin addicts in order to eliminate withdrawal symptoms. When used as prescribed, methadone is very safe.

    In Rockland

    Lexington Center for Recovery Methadone Maintenance Treatment Program

    • (845) 362-3904 x1700
    • 50 Sanatorium Road, Building D Pomona, NY

    Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center Chemical Dependency Inpatient Unit

    • (845) 368-5242
    • 255 Lafayette Avenue Suffern, NY
    • Offer methadone maintenance

    The other resources listed here may be able to offer methadone or alternative heroin addiction treatment.

  • Legal Risks with Illegal Drugs

    The fact of the matter is, beyond the harmful physical and emotional effects, most of the drugs in this section are illegal in New York State, including drinking alcohol under age 21, marijuana, ecstasy/molly, cocaine and crack, hallucinogens such as shrooms and LSD, meth, and heroin. Even abusing prescription or over the counter drugs in a way they’re not supposed to be used, or huffing toxic substances, is illegal. If you are caught with illegal drugs or drug paraphernalia on you, such as a joint or needle, you will be prosecuted. Furthermore, many high schools and employers drug test students or potential employees. If you face a criminal charge or test positive on a drug test, you might ruin your chance at a future opportunity and have drug use on your record.

    Read more here: You are Caught With Drugs -Just Think Twice