drug addiction

How to Reach Out to a Someone Suffering From Drug Addiction

According to this study, our personal network’s attitude towards substance use and recovery can actually impact our future substance abuse.

Having a network of supportive friends and family can make all the difference. With this guide, you can determine if your friend is suffering from drug addiction and take the necessary steps to help them. 

Become the type of friend who can make a difference with this guide on how to reach out to a drug addict.

How to Tell If Your Friend Is a Drug Addict

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 19.7 million American adults suffered from drug addiction in 2017. 

Don’t miss the signs. Before you reach out to a friend you think is a drug addict, check for these indicators of their addiction. 

Physical Indicators 

When trying to determine whether or not your friend is a drug addict, there are a few physical clues you can look out for.

These include frequent nosebleeds, constant sniffing, and/or a runny nose. Red, bloodshot, and often glassy eyes can also indicate drug addiction. Their eyes may also appear dilated. 

Keep an eye out for impaired coordination as well. If your friend is stumbling a lot more than usual, it could indicate they’re a drug addict. 

When speaking with your friend, note any signs of slurred or incoherent speech. Shakes and tremors are physical signs of drug addiction as well. 

These signs, combined with the following behavioral clues, may indicate it’s time to talk to your friend about drug addiction. 

Behavioral Indicators

Suddenly abandoning responsibilities is one of the first signs of addiction. This can include neglecting work, not attending school, or abandoning projects. Drug addicts neglect these responsibilities because they’re more focused on getting their next fix.

Your friend might also lose interest in hanging out or their favorite hobbies.

This can include sports, video games, or other ways you spend time together. 

Drug addiction causes addicts to become withdrawn from the people around them. They will also experience mood swings and stop caring about their personal hygiene. 

If you notice these behavioral signs of drug addiction, reach out and confront your friend. 

However, it’s important to read about the do’s and dont’s for helping a friend through addiction first. 

Check these additional signs of drug use and abuse to determine if your friend needs professional help.

How You Can Help

To start, help your friend realize there’s a problem.

They might not see their drug use as drug abuse. Your friend may not even recognize the impact their drug addiction has on their body, friendships, and overall life. 

Be honest and discuss the signs you’ve seen them exhibit. Let them know you’re worried about their health and wellbeing. You can also discuss the physical impact drug abuse has on long-term health.

That way, they know there’s someone on their side who actually cares.

It’s also important to help your friend recognize there is a problem. Otherwise, they won’t be able to work towards a solution. 

Then, you can help your friend discover treatment options for their drug addiction.

Helping a Friend Through Drug Addiction: Do’s and Don’ts

It may feel nervewracking to reach out to a drug addict. Just remember this is your friend and they need support right now. It’s important for friends to lean on and help one another, especially when the situation is unfamiliar.

Your friend’s behavioral changes can put a strain on your friendship. However, it’s important to remember that the drugs are responsible.

Chances are, your friend didn’t mean to hurt you.

Drug addiction can impact your friendship, but only if you let it. With these do’s and don’ts for confronting a drug addict, you can repair that strain and be the friend they need.

Do’s

To start, do your research. After all, drug addiction is life-threatening. Having information at hand can help you convince your friend they need help. 

This also puts the situation into an objective perspective.

Research can help answer any of the lingering questions you have. It can also help you find help, such as support groups for friends of drug addicts. 

It’s also important to remain positive and supportive when you reach out to a drug addict. Let them know there are options for help and that recovery is possible. 

By remaining positive, you can give your friend hope and let them know they’re not alone.   

It’s also important to remain an active participant in your friend’s rehabilitation. During their rehab program, send supportive letters of encouragement to let them know you’re on their side. 

Once they’ve completed their rehabilitation, watch out for signs of a relapse.

That way, you can be there to help your friend when they need it. Don’t be afraid to speak up when you feel concerned about their progress.

Don’ts

Don’t place blame on anyone. It can cause guilt on either side and create tension between you and your friend. 

While you may feel hurt by your friend’s behavior, don’t lecture them or start preaching. Feelings of resentment and anger won’t provide them with the support they need. In fact, threats and moralizing can deepen the strain between you two.

This can also cause your friend to delve deeper into drugs for comfort, instead of confronting the situation head-on.

Instead, remove judgment from the equation. Focusing on offering them help; not on causing guilt.

Try to avoid having this talk while your friend is high or drunk. That way, you can speak to them when they have a clear mind. 

Finally, try not to set unrealistic expectations.

Recovery is a process. It requires time and patience from both the drug addict and the support team. 

How to Reach out and Help a Friend Through Drug Addiction

With this guide, you can reach out and help a friend through drug addiction. Remember to be supportive and patient throughout the process. Your friend will need both during this time. 

Discover more helpful resources for yourself and your friend on our recovery blog.

About the Reviewer: Chris Barnes

Chris BarnesChristopher Barnes has worked in health care for over thirty years. He is a graduate of Alabama State University where he earned a double Bachelor of Science Degree in Social Work and Psychology in 1982. Christopher Barnes is currently the Director of Clinical services at The Discovery House where he has been employed for the past five years. Because of his extensive experience in health care & substance abuse he has an excellent rapport with constituents, clients, and other professional organizations in the counseling/social service community.