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The Next Step in Getting Help:

      If any of these signs sound like you, you may have a problem with drugs or alcohol. It's extremely hard to recognize that you have a problem, and it's no easier to get help. But the best thing you can do is to talk to someone you trust so you don't have to deal with it alone. Talk to an adult who can support you and make sure that you are safe. If you feel like your parents aren't the best people to talk to, you can turn to another adult such as a guidance counselor, teacher, clergy member, or a friend's parents.

     There are also tons of resources for people who have substance abuse problems (just click the Resources tab on this article to find some). There are many organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous that offer information and recovery programs for teens. The National Substance Abuse Help Line (800-HELP-111) is also a quick phone call away.

     If you're getting upset because friends or family members are accusing you of having a drinking or drug problem, you may be in denial. This means that you may have a problem, but either you don't fully realize it or aren't ready to deal with it. Denial is common in people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol. Keep in mind that the people who care about you aren't trying to control you - they're looking out for your safety and well-being.

     Try to remember that you're not alone - and that many teens (and adults) are dealing with tough situations, too. Whatever steps you decide to take, remember that acknowledging your problem and getting help are the hardest parts of the process. But the rewards (like your long-term health and happiness!) are more than worth it.

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