Helping you get through tough times

Getting help for drug use

Outstretched hand, supportThere are loads of reasons why people use drugs, and different ways that they can become a problem for people.

Whether it’s a habit you want to break or a physical dependency, drugs can have major implications for your mental and physical health, for your daily life and where you want to be in the future.

Stopping or managing your drug use isn’t always easy. But, if you know that it’s something you want to do, there’s lots of help available.

How to quit or manage drug use

This depends largely on the drug involved.

Quitting or reducing smoking is a different game to quitting or reducing heroine use. It can also depend on:

  • how regularly you’re using the drug
  • how long you’ve used the drug
  • what other things are happening in your life
  • what resources are available to you.

No matter how comparably minor or serious the drug issue you have, getting help can be really useful.

There are many addiction treatment and counselling services available.

Talking to a doctor or drug/alcohol worker about the best way to manage your drug use is one of the most effective things you can do.

They can prepare you for any physical side affects and help you find a way to manage the situation, safely and sustainably.

Managing your drug use

Some suggestions for helping to manage your drug use:

  • Make it difficult to access drugs. If you are trying to stop smoking, throw out all your cigarettes, lighters and ashtrays so they are not tempting you
  • Distract yourself at times when you feel like taking the drug. Have a friend lined up that you can call for a chat, go out, watch a film or go for a run
  • Get support from your family and friends. They may be more supportive of you if they know that you’re trying to reduce your drug use
  • Talk to someone you trust. This person may be a friend, family member or youth worker. See the benefits of talking to someone and face-to-face help
  • Eat well and drink lots of water to help you keep healthy. If possible eat fruit, vegetables, pasta, cereals and meat and avoid take away food and foods high in sugar.

While you are still using drugs, it’s important that you do it in the safest possible way. (the national drugs information and support programme) should also be helpful in answering questions about safer drug use.

This service also has a helpline on freephone 1800 459 459


Sometimes it helps to talk to a counsellor. Some counsellors specialise in drug and alcohol treatment, but all of them should be able to help.

A good counsellor can help you to work out how best to manage your drug intake.

Counselling can either be done in a group or individually. They’ll work with you to figure out which type is best for you.

The counselling directory should help you find a counsellor in your area.

Your local hospital, community health centre or youth worker should also be able to help you find information.


This is another form of treatment for people who have drug dependencies. Self-help groups are made up of those people who are affected by a particular drug problem.

Instead of a group being run by a professional it is run by the members of the group. Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are examples of self-help groups.

Talk with your local doctor or counsellor. In some instances of specific drug dependence, reducing your drug intake may be done with the assistance of other drugs.

The function of these drugs depends on what they are replacing.

Methadone, naltrexone and buprenolphine are drugs used to help reduce heroin intake. Medical treatment is often done along with counselling.

More information about managing drug use – a drugs and alcohol information and online support service that provides live inter-active help.

Al-Anon & Alateen – a support service for relatives and friends of problem drinkers. Alateen offers understanding and support specifically for children of problem drinkers. 
Call 01 8732699 or click on the link.

Alcoholics Anonymous – through mutual support, the AA aims to help its members achieve and maintain sobriety. There are no membership fees. Call 01 8420700 or click on the link.


This article was last reviewed on 21 August 2018

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