Helping you get through tough times

Helping someone with their drug abuse

It’s quite common for people to experiment with taking drugs. This experimentation doesn’t necessarily lead to abuse or dependence.

Someone with a friend's hand on their shoulderBut, if someone is abusing drugs it can be difficult to tell, especially if they try to cover it up.

Helping someone you think has a problem with drugs may not be easy. If they’re not ready to change their behaviour then it could be very difficult.

Ultimately it is their decision to change or not.

If you’re worried

You may feel anxious or stressed about someone else’s drug use. It’s normal to feel protective about a friend or family member if you think they’re developing a problem.

On top of this, their behaviour may be threatening or violent and you might feel unsafe.

In either of these scenarios it’s probably a good idea to talk to a friend or family member about what’s going on, or if it would make you feel more comfortable, face-to-face with someone outside of the situation.

Inform yourself

Whatever’s going on, it’s always a good idea to be as informed as possible. Understanding more about drugs and what help for drug use is available will take you a step closer to helping someone.

It will help you stick to the facts, be aware of what’s going on and what you can do.

Be patient

If you do decide to approach the person, try to discuss your concerns openly and calmly. Try not to be judgemental. One of the best things you can do is to reassure them you’re there for them.

Finding an appropriate way to communicate is essential. If the other person feels you are open-minded about their situation they’ll feel more comfortable. But, if you approach them in a confrontational manner you could alienate them.

If someone says they have a problem

Acknowledgement of a drug problem is a big step. Listening and being open-minded will go a long way to being able to assist them.

Then you may be able to encourage them to get help or even aid them in finding the right help.

This article was last reviewed on 03 May 2017

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