Watching a friend’s drug use develop into “addiction” can be frightening. You want to do something to help them but you are not quite sure of what to do. While most people believe that you cannot help someone until they hit bottom, there are some things that you can do in the meantime if you are worried about your friends escalating drug use.
One of the first things that you can do is to educate yourself about their drug use. Learn as much as you can about the type or types of drugs your friends is using. You can look them up online at various websites such as the National Institute on Drug Abuse and other websites. You can call the Drug Abuse Hotline and ask the counselors for information about the drugs and how to help your friend. If you are attending college, almost every campus has a substance use center. You should know that substance use can have a physical effect on the individual using drugs and can cause physical withdrawal symptoms
The important thing is that the more prepared and educated you are about their drug use, the better equipped you will be when your friend is ready to listen to you. You should also consider if there is a family member that is also concerned about the drug use and is willing to talk to their loved one with you, in a small, non-confrontational meeting.
Think about what you will say to your friend about their drug use. It is important that you are specific without passing judgment. You can be concerned about their drug use or how their behavior is possibly causing harm to your friendship without being confrontational. Express your concern about their behavior and give them an opportunity to tell you their reasons for turning to drugs. Point out to your friend if there has been any negative impact on their other relationships and suggest that they may need to seek assistance.
While you are preparing to talk to your friend about their drug use, make sure to choose a location to have the talk that is relaxed and non-threatening. It is equally important that you select a time of the day when your friend will not be under the influence of drugs.
Your friend may not respond the way you want them to and this is something to be prepared for as well. They may tell you to mind your own business, they may become defensive, and they may even become angry. Those types of reactions are not unusual and sometimes it takes a few conversations to get the point across and for your friend to accept that you care about them.
It is important that you understand that interventions do not always work. Sadly, until your friend wants help, he or she may not get it. You cannot force them to stop using drugs and intimidation will only force them to end the friendship or cut off all communication all together Try to be patient and persistent that getting help can change their life and they can stop. If you need help talking to your friend about drug use call our friendly family consultants today.