Substance Abuse and Addictions

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Teen alcohol and drug use remains a significant problem in our society. According to recent nationwide studies, about 43 percent of teenagers report having had at least one alcoholic drink in the past month. The numbers are particularly high among older high school students: about 46 percent of juniors and 51 percent of seniors. Approximately 25 percent of teenagers report binge drinking—i.e. consuming more than five drinks in a row over a short time period—at least once in the past month. About 20 percent of teens report having used marijuana at least once in the past month. In regard to other illicit drugs, about 7 percent of students reported using cocaine at least once in their lifetime; 3 percent for heroin; 12 percent for inhalants (e.g. glue or paint); 9 percent for hallucinogens (e.g. acid): 6 percent for ecstasy; and 6 percent for methamphetamines (e.g. speed or crystal meth). Abuse of prescription medications is on the rise, with about 1 in 5 teenagers reporting that they have used a prescription medication to get high.

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Resource Organizations » Substance Abuse and Addictions

21 listing(s), including 3 offering support groups

In Massachusetts

Addiction Recovery Management Service (ARMS)
Massachusetts General Hospital
151 Merrimac St. 6th Floor
Boston, MA  02114
The Addiction Recovery Management Service, offered by the Massachusetts General Physicians Organization (MGPO), provides rapid access to information and support combined with outreach and care management for youth aged 15 - 25 and their families suffering from substance-related problems. ARMS supplements the traditional inpatient and outpatient continuum and bridges the gaps in disjointed systems of treatment with leading expertise and high quality care management. Building on the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) medical, clinical, and addiction research resources within the MGH Center for Addiction Medicine, ARMS facilitates comprehensive, research-informed, care maximizing the chances for youth recovery.

AIDS Action Committee
359 Green Street
Cambridge, MA  02139
AIDS Action Needle Exchange distributes and exchanges syringes to injection drug users (IDUs). Needle Exchange is one of four state-sanctioned and state-funded syringe exchange programs in Massachusetts. The program also operates a drop-in center where members can access risk reduction supplies such as crack kits, safer injection supplies, and condoms. Members can participate in periodic groups as well as receive individual risk reduction counseling, information and referrals to medical, substance use, and other social service providers. Needle Exchange is also one of the state’s pilot sites for the distribution of Narcan, a nasal spray distributed to IDUs and their network of supportive family and friends to reverse potentially fatal overdoses.

Alanon and Alateen
57 East Main Street
Suite 109
Westborough, MA  01581
MA: 508-366-0556
National Toll Free: 888-425-2666
Alateen and Al-Anon are 12-step support programs that help families and friends of alcoholics recover from the effects of their loved one's addiction. Members meet regularly to learn a better way of life, to find happiness whether the alcoholic is still drinking or not. Alateen offers support to adolescents affected by someone else's alcoholism. The only requirement of membership in Al-Anon and Alateen is that there be a problem of alcoholism in a relative or friend. Visit the website for a list of meetings in your area.

Alcoholics Anonymous
12 Channel St., Suite 604
Marine Industrial Park
Boston, MA  02210
Alcoholics Anonymous is 12-step support program for recovering alcoholics to share their experience, strength, and hope with each other so that together they may achieve sobriety. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for AA membership. Visit the AA website for a list of meetings in your area or

Cambridge and Somerville Program for Alcoholism and Drug Abuses Rehabilitation (CASPAR)
66 Canal St
Boston, MA  02114
CASPAR is a nonprofit organization founded in 1970 in response to the need for community-based services for those affected by substance use disorders. Since then CASPAR has built a comprehensive array of outreach, shelter, stabilization, residential, aftercare, education, and prevention services to meet the needs of diverse populations through programs that are safe, accessible, and supportive. CASPAR serves a diverse population of high risk men, women, children and adolescents, most of whom are uninsured and indigent.

Casa Esperanza
P.O. Box 191540
Roxbury, MA  02119
Casa Esperanza is a recognized leader in developing holistic approaches to substance abuse treatment, with a reputation for having caring, highly skilled substance abuse counselors and other service providers. We now operate a residential treatment facility for 29 men; a residential treatment facility for 20 women and their children; 23 units of Supportive Housing for individuals and families; and a Relapse Prevention and Outpatient Services program, which provides aftercare services for individuals and families in recovery.
Understanding that recovery is a lifelong process, Casa Esperanza has continued to evolve to meet the unique, long-term needs of people in recovery, providing integrated, bilingual/bicultural tailored services to each individual and each family, including: affordable sober housing; parent-child education and reunification; job training, placement, and advancement; trauma counseling; and health and wellness services, with an emphasis on HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention, tobacco cessation, nutrition and exercise. By focusing on whole people, not a single problem, Casa seeks to help families regain the lives they have lost and create a strong, supportive community for those who hope to follow in their footsteps.

Check Your Gambling

Check Your Gambling is a personalized feedback intervention for problem gamblers. The site presents a series of questions relating to your gambling activities and their consequences, and basic demographic details. Once you have completed the questions (which only takes a few minutes), you are presented with personalized feedback. This feedback includes a comparison of your gambling behavior with normative data; a summary of your overall rating along with a description of what it means (non-problem gambler, low-risk gambler, moderate-risk gambler, problem gambler); and a summary of cognitive distortions about gambling with a summary about the error of each belief. Also included are some suggested techniques that could be used to lower the risk associated with your gambling. The length of the feedback varies depending on your answers, but should take no more than 10 to 20 minutes to read.

Institute for Health and Recovery
349 Broadway
Cambridge, MA  02139
Toll Free: 866-705-2807
TDD: 617-661-9051
The Institute for Health and Recovery is a statewide service, research, policy, and program development agency. IHR's mission is to develop a comprehensive continuum of care for individuals, youth, and families affected by alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use, mental health problems, and violence/trauma.

Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling
190 High Street, Suite 5
Boston, MA  02110
Helpline: 800-426-1234
The Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling is a private, non-profit health agency dedicated to reducing the social, financial, and emotional costs of problem gambling.
The Council has been instrumental in bringing the issue of problem gambling to the attention of the public and policymakers, offering resources to problem gamblers, their loved ones, and concerned members of the community. The Council offers a toll-free Helpline which provides live confidential caller responses (including treatment referrals) 24-hours a day, 7-days a week.

Massachusetts Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Program
Boston, MA  02108
Smokers' Helpline: 800-784-8669
The Massachusetts Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Program is dedicated to reducing the health and economic burden of tobacco use by: preventing young people from starting to smoke, helping current smokers quit protecting children and adults from secondhand smoke, identifying and eliminating tobacco-related disparities.

Middlesex Human Service Agency, Inc.
50 Prospect Street
Waltham, MA  02453
Fax: 781-647-0412
The mission of Middlesex Human Service Agency, Inc. is to improve the quality of life and independent functioning of a wide variety of clients through the delivery of an extensive system of community-based substance abuse and social service programs.
Programs include substance abuse recovery homes, inpatient alcohol education & treatment for adults convicted of two or more OUI offenses, shelter, food, & housing search assistance for the homeless.

New England Region of Narcotics Anonymous (N.E.R.N.A)
P.O. Box 437
Quincy, MA  02169
Narcotics Anonymous is a nonprofit 12-step support program for men and women recovering from their addiction to drugs. Members meet regularly to help each other stay clean. Membership is open to all drug addicts, regardless of the particular drug or combination of drugs used. There are no dues or fees for membership. Visit the NA website for a list of meetings in your area.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness
Offers support group(s)
529 Main Street, Suite 1M17
Charlestown, MA  02129
Toll Free: 800-370-9085
Fax: 617-580-8673
The National Alliance on Mental Illness maintains a helpline for information on mental illnesses and referrals to local groups. The local self-help groups have support and advocacy components and offer education and information about community services for families and individuals. Local chapters can be found through the main website. For information about the Alliance's affiliates and activities in MA, contact NAMI Massachusetts.

The Town of Westford Health Department

The Westford Health Department is responsible for developing and implementing alcohol, tobacco and other drug prevention related programs and enforcing Westford’s tobacco regulations. They work closely with the Westford Police, the School Departments, the Westford Parent Connection (WPC), and other local and state organizations to bring substance abuse prevention programs to the community. Upcoming educational programs on substance abuse prevention can be found here.

Outside Massachusetts

Families Anonymous, Inc.
701 Lee St., Suite 670
Main Office: 800-736-9805
Local Contact: 617-825-8841
Families Anonymous is a 12-step support group of concerned relatives and friends whose lives have been adversely affected by a loved one's addiction to alcohol or drugs. See the website for a list of local meetings in your area; online meetings are also offered.

P.O. Box 307
NY  11762
Gam-Anon is a 12-Step, self-help program for the family members, friends, and loved ones of compulsive gamblers. Gam-Anon's purposes are three-fold: To learn acceptance and understanding of the gambling illness; to use the program and its problem solving suggestions as aids in rebuilding our lives and, upon our own recovery, to give assistance to those who suffer.

Gamblers Anonymous
P.O. Box 17173
Los Angeles, CA  90017
Hotline: 888-424-3577
Gamblers Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength, and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from a gambling problem. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop gambling. There are no dues or fees for Gamblers Anonymous membership. Gamblers Anonymous is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution. It neither endorses nor opposes any cause. Its primary purpose is to help compulsive gamblers end their addiction through its 12-step program.

Offers support group(s)
22527 Crenshaw Boulevard
Torrance, CA  90505
Toll Free: 800-477-6291
Local : 310-534-8188
Nar-Anon members are relatives and friends who are concerned about the addiction or drug problem of another. Its program of recovery is adapted from Narcotics Anonymous and uses the twelve-step model. Nar-Anon members share their experiences, strength, and hope at weekly meetings. Joining is easy; just attend a meeting. There are no dues or fees. The only requirement for membership is that there is a problem of addiction in a relative or friend. Nar-Anon is not affiliated with any other organization or outside entity. Listings of local meetings as are available on the website.

On-line Gamers Anonymous
Offers support group(s)
104 Miller Lane
Harrisburg, PA  17110
On-Line Gamers Anonymous is a self-help fellowship. We share our experience, strengths and hope to assist in recovery from the problems caused by excessive game playing, whether it be computer, video, console, or on-line. Our community includes recovering gamers, family members, loved ones, friends, and concerned others. We know how powerful, cunning, baffling and destructive excessive game playing can be. It can be devastating to the real-world lives of gamers and to those close to them. OLGA/OLG-Anon provides a resource for open discussion, support, education and referrals. We advocate and provide a 12-Step Program of recovery. The OLGA/OLG-Anon website includes a directory of 12-Step meetings (both on-line and face-to-face), a list of relevant reading materials, links to recent media articles, and referrals to professionals in your area who specialize in the treatment of gaming addiction.

Sex Addicts Anonymous
PO Box 70949
Houston, TX  77270
Toll Free: 800-477-8191
As a fellowship of recovering addicts, Sex Addicts Anonymous offers a message of hope to anyone who suffers from sex addiction. Through long and painful experience, we came to realize that we were powerless over our sexual thoughts and behaviors and that our preoccupation with sex was causing progressively severe adverse consequences for us, our families, and our friends. Despite many failed promises to ourselves and attempts to change, we discovered that we were unable to stop acting out sexually by ourselves. Local meetings provide an environment of acceptance, safety, and encouragement for learning how to apply the Twelve Step Program in our lives. Although each group within SAA is autonomous, meetings typically consist of readings from recovery literature and sharing how the Twelve Steps have led to recovery for us. Meetings also offer opportunities for learning how to reach out and to serve other sex addicts.The only requirement for membership in SAA is the desire to stop addictive sexual behavior. There are no fees or dues. Local groups are self-supporting from voluntary contributions of their members.

SOS Fires: Youth Intervention Programs
22220 SE Heidi Lane
Suite #1
Damascus, OR  97089
SOS FIRES provides a wide range of training and resources for all disciplines involved in youth firesetting intervention and behavior management. Its website includes information on firesetting for parents, teachers, and professionals, as well as listings of assessment and treatment services across the US.

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Additional Sources of Information

Disclaimer: Material on the William James INTERFACE Referral Service website is intended as general information. It is not a recommendation for treatment, nor should it be considered medical or mental health advice. The William James INTERFACE Referral Service urges families to discuss all information and questions related to medical or mental health care with a health care professional.