Drug Problems: Helping Someone Get Care
British Columbia Specific Information
Individual, family, and small group counselling is available to people of all ages who are directly or indirectly affected by alcohol and other drug use by calling the 24-hour BC Alcohol and Drug Information and Referral Service in the Lower Mainland at 604-660-9382 or toll-free anywhere in BC at 1-800-663-1441. You may also search HealthLinkBC's FIND Services and Resources Directory or contact your local health authority for mental health and substance use support in your area.
If you have a family member or friend with a drug use problem, you probably want to help. This can be hard. You can't force a person to get help.
One thing you can do is to stop making excuses for the person. For example, if the person is late to work, refuse to make an excuse. The person has to deal with the problems that his or her drug use causes.
If you feel that you'd like to talk to the person about the drug use problem, here are some suggestions:
- Find a time when you and the person are not using drugs or alcohol, are both calm and not angry, and can speak in private.
- Be specific. Tell the person that you are worried about his or her drug use and want to help. Give examples of how the person's behaviour has affected you and how it made you feel.
- Tell the person what will happen if he or she refuses to get help. You could say that you will no longer allow drug-using friends in the house or that you will move out. Be prepared to act if the person continues to use drugs. Stress that you are not punishing the person but that you want to protect yourself from any harm that his or her habit causes.
- Know ahead of time where and how to get help. If the person agrees to get help, call for an appointment right away. Don't accept "We'll call tomorrow." Offer to go to the first appointment or meeting.
Some people ask a group of people to help them talk to the person who is using drugs. This is known as a group intervention. It's best to ask for help from a counsellor or therapist who has had practice in group interventions.
Primary Medical Reviewer Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Thomas M. Bailey, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Peter Monti, PhD - Alcohol and Addiction
Timothy R. Stockwell, PhD
Current as ofFebruary 20, 2015
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