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What can I do to help a friend who is addicted to drugs?



Addiction is a disease that can affect people of all ages, genders, and races. It’s also considered to be one of the biggest health issues facing our nation today.


Table of Contents

Don't wait for your friend to ask for help

As you may know, addiction is a complex condition with several causes. If your friend is struggling with addiction, they may not even realize they need help. 

While it’s important to be aware of the signs of drug use and the effects of drug abuse on the brain, your support system doesn’t have to be medical professionals.

If your friend is not interested in seeking treatment for their addiction, you can still provide emotional support and encouragement by encouraging them to seek counseling or join an online community where they can connect with others who understand what they’re going through. 

Even if it’s something as simple as listening to their story and offering advice when possible, being there for someone who needs help will make all the difference in their recovery journey!


Ask your friend if he is willing to talk about the problem

If your friend is willing to talk about the problem, you should ask him if he knows what the problem is. 

If he doesn’t know what the problem is, then you can help him figure out what the problem is.


Don't tell your friend what he needs to do

There are two things you must not do when talking to a friend who is addicted to drugs. 

Firstly, don’t tell your friend what he needs to do. Secondly, don’t tell your friend what you would do if you were in his situation.

Why? To begin with, it’s presumptuous of you and will likely make your friend feel attacked or offended if he is already feeling defensive about his use. 

It’s also not helpful because it can come across as condescending since each person’s situation is different and therefore requires a different approach. 

Finally, it may trigger feelings of shame in the person being talked down to, who feels like they have failed at being able to stop using drugs on their own (because they haven’t).


If your friend has a drug problem, work together on a plan of action

  • Ask your friend to attend a support group. There are many support groups available for people with substance use disorders; find one that is appropriate for your friend and ask them if they would be willing to attend. Some examples include Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA).
  • Ask your friend to go to rehab. If he or she hasn’t already, it may be time for him or her to seek professional help for his or her addiction problems in an in-patient treatment program where he or she can get the medical care needed without having access to drugs or alcohol during rehabilitation treatment.
  • Ask your friend to go see a therapist(s). If he or she does not have insurance coverage through their employer’s health insurance plan, there may be low-cost mental health care options available at places like community mental health centers located within many large cities throughout the U.S., though these services can vary greatly depending on location so it might take some research before determining which is best suited toward helping someone overcome their substance abuse issues while also addressing any underlying psychological issues that may have contributed towards starting those habits in the first place (e.g., unresolved childhood trauma).


Call your friend's attention to the consequences of using drugs or alcohol

  • The consequences of using marijuana include impaired judgment; decreased coordination; increased heart rate and blood pressure; increased risk of respiratory problems; and slower reaction time, which puts you at risk of sustaining an injury while driving or operating machinery.
  • The consequences of drinking alcohol include impaired judgment; decreased coordination that can lead to accidents and falls (e.g., tripping on uneven surfaces), falls into bodies of water; increased risk for violence due to aggressive behavior caused by intoxication (e.g., participating in fights); unwanted sexual activity due to diminished inhibitions; risky sexual behavior with multiple partners when under the influence, including unprotected sex which increases the risk for contracting sexually transmitted infections/diseases such as HIV/AIDS; liver damage from overindulgence (alcoholism).


Talk to other people who know the person who abuses drugs or alcohol

  • Talk to a doctor, therapist, or counselor.
  • Talk to a drug and alcohol counselor.
  • Talk to a minister, priest, or rabbi.
  • Talk to a teacher or school counselor (if you’re still in school).


Consider joining a support group for family and friends

You might also consider joining a support group for family and friends of people with addictions. 

Support groups are a great way to learn more about addictions, develop strategies for helping your friend or loved one, and connect with others who have similar experiences. 

In many cases, attending a support group can help you find new ways of dealing with the problem and help you understand what your friend is going through. 

It can also make you feel less alone in your struggle.


You can have support and guidance when trying to help an addicted friend

There are many resources available to help you and your friend. You can talk to a therapist, counselor, or another professional who specializes in addiction. 

If you don’t feel comfortable doing that on your own, consider asking your friend if they’d be open to seeing someone together

—many people find it easier to share their struggles when they have support from another person who cares about them. 

It may also be helpful for the two of you to go with a close friend or family member at first so that everyone feels safe discussing their feelings and experiences with addiction.


Try learning about alternative addiction treatments like ibogaine

Other alternative options can be sought for the friend as there are huge advances recorded in the use of ibogaine to treat addiction and this can also be a means for you to look at this option and get to use it to help your friend as most people have been turning to this alternative treatment option in recent years and have been recording great results.

There are many ways to help a friend who is addicted to drugs or alcohol. The most important thing is to be supportive and nonjudgmental so that your friend can feel comfortable talking about the problem. 

You also need to look at yourself and make sure that you’re not enabling his or her behavior by covering up for them or providing money for drugs. 

Finally, don’t wait around for the addict to ask for help

—instead, reach out yourself!


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