How to Encourage Someone to Seek Help for Drug Addiction

Do you have a friend or family member who has a drug problem? Drug addiction affects not just the addicted person, but it can often have a negative impact on the lives of others around them. It can be extremely difficult to watch someone you care about deteriorate physically and emotionally. If their addiction has caused them to commit drug offences, they may also have legal problems to deal with, too.

There are a number of signs and symptoms that can indicate that someone you know is using or dependent on prohibited drugs. If you believe a loved one has a drug problem, it can be hard to know what to do, and how to handle the situation. You might feel helpless and concerned about saying the wrong thing, but it is important to speak to them about your concerns, and encourage them to seek help. Having support from those around them can make a big difference to a drug addict’s chance of recovering. It is important that you don’t blame yourself or feel guilty for your friend or family member’s addiction, and remember that although you can offer support and encouragement, you can’t force someone to get help.

How to talk to someone about their drug problem

You need to be cautious when speaking to someone about their drug problem as putting them on the defensive can mean alienating them and having them withdraw further from you. Here are a few suggestions to help you approach the subject in the most positive way possible:

  • Choose a time when you are both calm and the person you are talking to isn’t intoxicated.
  • Avoid lecturing the other person. Instead, present your concerns in a non-judgemental and supportive way.
  • Prepare examples of the other person’s behaviour to demonstrate why you are concerned, as they may try to deny there is a problem.
  • Remember that you can’t force someone to seek help if they are in denial, or if they aren’t ready to address their problem.

Many addicts react with anger and denial when confronted with evidence of their problem, and it is important that you are prepared for this and don’t blame yourself if your efforts to support the other person are rejected.

Drug use and legal issues

If you suspect someone you know may have a drug problem, it is important that you don’t ignore the situation. The longer someone is dependent on drugs, the harder it can be to treat their addiction. Long-term drug use often leads to criminal activity, which can have serious consequences, and impact on their life in a number of ways.

Drug offences come with hefty penalties in many cases, depending on the type and seriousness of the offence.

Penalties can range from intensive correction orders, to prison. A criminal conviction and serving time in jail can impair the ability of your loved one to find employment in the future, or to travel to countries that require a clean criminal record in order to issue an entry visa.

What are the treatment options?

There is a wide range of different drug treatment options available, including counselling, rehabilitation programs, detoxification programs and natural therapies. Not all treatments will suit every person, so it is important that your loved one finds the right treatment for them.

Although speaking to someone about their drug problems can be a daunting prospect, if you are able to encourage them to seek help, you will be able to have a hugely positive impact on their health and future.


  1. Robert says:

    Great post! You can only encourage someone to seek help, but you cannot force them.

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