Drug abuse is a growing problem, one that affects people of all ages and backgrounds. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “Drug addiction is a complex disorder that can involve virtually every aspect of an individual’s functioning—in the family, at work and school, and in the community” (2018). Sadly, many do not recognize the serious nature of their addiction until it’s too late.
When a loved one is struggling with drug abuse, it can be incredibly difficult to know how to help and offer comfort and guidance. While most drug-related treatment plans are best left to professionals, there are ways to provide support and assistance to family and friends struggling with addiction.
The most important thing you can do for someone struggling with drug abuse is to listen and be present with them. Showing up and offering nonjudgmental love and support can make a big impact in the life of someone battling addiction. Listening without judgement or shame is a wonderful way to show those who may be struggling with drug abuse that they are not alone.
Providing education on the dangers of drug abuse is also important and can be provided in many ways. Talk with a loved one about the short- and long-term effects of drug use, and explore resources that are available for help. If you are able to, help develop a plan for recovery and provide the support needed to follow through on the plan. Many drug abuse centers and treatment centers provide free resources and support programs and these are great places to start when looking for help.
Financial assistance can be important for those struggling with drug addiction. If you feel comfortable offering financial help, make sure that it is done with the understanding that the money will be used to support treatment and recovery. Talk with your loved one’s doctor or the nearest treatment center to find the best ways to follow through with financial assistance.
Volunteering is always an option when trying to help someone with drug abuse. Places like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) often welcome volunteers to help lead meetings or provide guidance and support. It can also be helpful to become actively involved in community outreach programs that focus on drug abuse.
Having access to moral support and positive reinforcement can make a world of difference for someone who is struggling with substance addiction. Instead of putting blame or demanding change, offer words of love and respect to show that you care. Sometimes talking about our feelings openly and honestly can help move us toward healing and recovery.
It’s important to remember that drug abuse treatment is an ongoing process, and the journey of recovery can take time and effort. Everyone’s individual path to recovery will be different and it’s important to be patient and supportive on this journey.
No matter what you do, always stay available and willing to offer love and guidance to someone in need. And if your loved one does decide to seek professional help for their drug addiction, stand by them and offer your utmost support. Being there for a person struggling with drug abuse can present many challenges, but offering guidance and support can help make a huge impact in their life.