How To Help a Friend in Need

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boy and girl hugging

Figuring out what to do when a friend or someone you know is having trouble with drugs or alcohol can be tricky. You want to help, but you might not know how to bring it up. Here are some tips.

Listen. If he talks to you, just be there for him. Admitting a problem—never mind talking to someone about it—is really hard. Listen to what he has to say about his drug use without making judgments.

Encourage. Suggest that she talk to an adult she trusts—a coach or teacher, a school counselor, a relative, or a doctor.

Share. Maybe your friend doesn’t see his or her drug use as a bad thing. But plenty of real scientific information about what drugs can do to a person is on the NIDA Web site. Once your friend understands how drugs affect the brain, body, and life, it might open their eyes.

Inform. When he’s ready to make a change and seek treatment, help him find a doctor, therapist, support group, or treatment program. You can use SAMHSA’s Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator or call 1–800–662–HELP.

Support. Don’t give up on your friend, even if she isn’t ready to get help. Keep reaching out. Encourage them to get treatment, and support them along the way—that’s the best way to help someone you care about who is struggling with addiction.

Find Help Near You

Use the SAMHSA Treatment Locator to find substance use or other mental health services in your area. If you are in an emergency situation, this toll-free, 24-hour hotline can help you get through this difficult time: call 1-800-273-TALK, or visit the Suicide Prevention Lifeline. We also have step by step guides on what to do to help yourself, a friend or a family member.

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