Steps to Help a Friend with a Drug Problem
Friends are always there for us and there is nothing that we will not do to protect them at all times. If you are concerned about a friend because of the changes that you start noticing in terms of their lifestyle and how it’s affecting their well being, then there is nothing wrong with helping them realize a mistake.
If you suspect a friend of having a drug problem and you want to confirm this to help, there are signs that you need to look out for. Here are the signs that will confirm a drug problem:
- Chronic bloodshot eyes, dry cough, sore throat, and fatigue
- Sudden weight loss
- Loss of interest in activities that used to be enjoyed
- Major changes in eating and sleeping habits
- Change in relationships with family and friends
- Stealing and/or lying
- Social withdrawal
If you notice these changes with your friend, then it’s apparent that your friend has a drug problem. Helping out a friend to get better is great but approaching the situation is crucial. We do not want to drive them away or make them feel that we hate them for having a drug problem.
The key here is to earn their trust. Here are some tips on how to approach your friend and help them make that step to get better:
Hate drugs, not the user – Opening the subject of the drug problem is not easy. Try to use sentences like “heroin/cocaine sure is nasty” instead of “cocaine is a dangerous drug, I’m sure you know” type of sentences. Make your friend feel that you are there to help rather than to criticize him. Talk in the usual way you talk to each other. If your friend does not want to talk about it, try again some other time.
A drug-free option – drug users tend to hang out with other users because they will not be hassled about the drug use. Make sure to never take any substance when you’re with your friend. Instead, take them out for coffee or do fun things that you guys love doing. Take your friend out for a good time that does not involve drinking or getting wasted. Show them that there is more to life than wasting it on drugs.
Professional help – If you feel that your friend is ready to confront his drug problem, you can recommend a professional. This will ensure that they withdraw from the addiction properly and avoid a relapse.
Once your friend agrees to seek professional help, praise their progress when they start recovering. Comment on how happier and healthier they look, how great they look without the drugs. Staying positive about the recovery will help. Also, continue to do fun things so they don’t get bored and relapse.