Drug Abuse: How to Encourage Someone to Get Help

Do you know or suspect that someone close to you may have a drug problem? Perhaps you’ve noticed disturbing personality changes in a good friend. Maybe your sister, who has always been smart with money, suddenly always appears to be broke. Your brother, who has always been known for his active social life, has withdrawn into himself. These are signs of possible drug abuse. Of course, there are certainly other reasons for these behaviors that are not drug-related. Be careful before you assume.  Never Ignore the Issue

On the other hand, you know your family and friends. You know when something isn’t right. You may have even seen actual drug paraphernalia on their premises. However it happens, your suspicions about possible drug abuse aren’t something to ignore. You must act quickly to help.

Find the Facts: Educate Yourself

The first thing you must do is to educate yourself about common drugs of abuse. Research drug abuse treatment and recovery. If you know or suspect which drug is being abused, find out as much as you can about it. For example, cocaine isn’t just a harmless party favor. It can and has caused death from sudden cardiac arrest.

Find some good drug abuse rehab facilities. Make a clear list of them on a piece of paper. Include locations and phone numbers. Set the list aside to bring with you. Make several copies.

Knowledge is your best ally. If you can’t determine the drug involved, then you will need to approach the person anyway. Follow these important tips:

Tips for a Personal Mini-Intervention:

Never accuse or threaten

For one thing, unless you have found prior proof, you could be wrong. In any case, people respond to accusations negatively, even if you’re right. Pick a quiet time and place that offers absolute privacy. Gently broach the subject. You could begin by saying that you’ve noticed that the person seems to be very troubled. Don’t mention drugs at first.

You’re there to listen, not talk

Remember that. You need to find out what’s really going on. After you ask what’s troubling them, wait. Give them plenty of time to reply. Don’t try to offer explanations for them. Let them speak for themselves. If they don’t talk on their own after five minutes or so, you can try to get them talking by asking if it’s about work, their spouse or some other important aspect of their lives. Again, don’t mention drugs.

Be very gentle and understanding

Keep your tone kind. You’re dealing with a very troubled individual, so remember that. Never raise your voice. It will only push them further away.

Be Prepared for Denial

The person isn’t likely to admit to drug abuse. Be ready to bring it up yourself. Say that their behavior is making you very concerned and sad, and that you’re worried about them. You could briefly mention something that you’ve learned in your research about the dangers of what they’re doing. However, be careful. Don’t use facts for their shock value.

If the person admits their problem and is receptive, tell them about rehab facilities. In any case, emphasize that they’re not alone, and that you’re going to always be there for them. Never give ultimatums, such as saying that you can’t be in their life anymore if they refuse to go for help. Let them know that they can always count on you for emotional support. Gentle persistence is your best chance to get them the help they need.

In the end, the choice is theirs, not yours. Before you leave, urge them again to think about getting help. Even if they’re not receptive at the time, they may change their mind later. Discreetly leave your drug rehab list with them before you go, and remind them again that you’re there for them. If necessary, plan to urge them to get help at a later time. Finally, respect the person’s privacy. Never discuss their problem with others. It’s all you can do. The rest is up to them.

We’re Here to Help

When they’re ready, we’re here to help. Call us 24 hours a day at 833-762-3765. Our professional staff is always there to help guide callers in the right direction toward help and recovery.