Drugs & Health Blog

Real Teens Ask: How Can I Help My Friend?

Sara Bellum

Lots of teens have questions about drugs. Each year, NIDA scientists spend a whole day chatting online with high school students and answering their questions.

At the last “Drug Facts Chat Day,” a teen from Lima Central Catholic High School in Lima, Ohio asked:

"What should I do if one of my friends is using drugs...What should I tell him to convince him to stop?"

There are many ways to help and support your friend, but in the end, it will need to be your friend’s decision. And just by asking us this question, it’s easy to see you're a good friend. Sometimes our friends won’t appreciate advice they don’t want to hear—especially if they're using drugs—but telling the truth to help someone close to you is part of being a real friend, even when it’s hard to do.

Here are some ideas of things to say and do:

What To Do:

  • Find out if your friend is experimenting with drugs, or if he may be addicted. Neither one is good—but you may need more support if your friend is addicted.
  • Understand that addiction is a brain disease. Just like you wouldn’t expect someone with cancer to be able to heal herself without a doctor's help, the right treatment, and support from family and friends, you can’t expect your friend to heal herself.
  • Know that it's never easy for anyone to admit that they have a drug problem. You’ll need to be patient—and not give up easily.
  • Listen, encourage, share, and support. Sounds easy, right? But it’s so hard. We provide further tips and resources in a previous post we wrote titled “How to Help a Friend in Need.”
  • BTW, it's tough having a friend with addiction issues. So, if you need some support, visit: http://www.alanon.alateen.org/.

What To Say:

  • Just telling your friend that you’re concerned can be a big help. Your friend may not want to talk about it, and the effects of drugs on the brain may keep him from “hearing” you or acting on your advice.
  • Assure your friend you are there for her and that she is not alone. People with drug problems often have gotten in with the wrong crowd—and they don’t want to turn away from these so-called friends for fear of being alone.
  • Suggest that he speak to a trusted adult who will keep it confidential. Maybe there’s a family friend who could help.
  • Turn to a professional for immediate help if the problem looks to be too big for you to handle alone, or if you’re worried your friend may have suicidal thoughts that she could act on.
  • Use SAMHSA’s Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator or call 1–800–662–HELP to tap into a support network where you can find immediate and confidential help 24/7. They'can also direct you to local treatment options.

When the people we care about and have lots in common with make bad choices, it can be frustrating, confusing, and a little depressing. Still, we should be there for our friends—and also try to be a good role models for them by making smart choices ourselves.

Update: Learn more suggestions for how to help a friend.

Comments posted to the Drugs & Health Blog are from the general public and may contain inaccurate information. They do not represent the views of NIDA or any other federal government entity.


Hi fallon.  It sounds like Sarah could really use a friend that would be a positive influence on her.  You can make a difference by being supportive and helping her see how drugs are affecting her life.  You can also talk to a guidance counselor and tell them your concerns. 

Hi I recently found some evidence on my brothers phone that pointed towards him doing drugs..I don't know what to do! I am pretty sure the evidence is real. I do not want to confront him about it because obviously he has been doing it behind my family's backs. Who should I tell? Do I tell anyone at all? Please tell me what to do.

Hi Sara.  You need to tell your parents what you found.  It will be difficult, but drugs can harm your brother's health.  If you're afraid to tell your parents, you should tell a trusted adult that knows your brother.  Good luck!

I recently became very close to a guy a used to go to school with. He moved away but we talk every day and he's told me that he is doing drugs. He said he does them because he has problems he doesn't know how to deal with but he won't tell me what they are. Lately he's been being distant and calling/texting me at 3,4,5 in the morning...passing out, sleeping a lot and I'm really worried about him. Last night he didn't text me and today he told me he passed out and told me never to do drugs. He said it's too late for him to stop. What should I do?

Concerned, it sounds like your friend is heading down a dangerous path.  Is it possible for you to contact his parents, grandparents, or siblings?  Your parents might be able to help you contact his family.  You might also consider contacting the guidance counselor at his new school.  Your friend needs your help!  It's never too late to stop doing drugs, he just needs a good friend that cares enough to support him through the tough times.  Good luck!

I just found out my one of my old friends is on multiple different drugs and I really want to be able to help him but I don't know how is there someone that I could tell that could sort it out and help him find help, he is getting more and more addicted and has started mixing drugs together and I am really afraid he is going to OD, what do I do?

Ann, you need to contact someone that is close to your friend who can get him help, like a parent, sibling, or mutual friend.  You should tell them what you've heard and let them know they can find a local treatment center by visiting http://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/

Im 12 my friends r 11-13 and do drugs and also do IT and hang with street boys and make fun of me cuss im from USA and they're from ... (dont wanna mention) what do i have to do to be the cool one and make them like me and be popular r at least find some friends!!?!?!?!?

@Lil mafia, these don't sound like good friends.  A real friend wouldn't make fun of you or pressure you to do things that make you uncomfortable.  Don't worry about being cool.  Just look for friends that like the same things you do.  Are there clubs at school you'd like to join?  That would be a good place to meet new friends.  Same with non-school activities like sports leagues or dance classes.  

My friends brother is doing drugs, caught in the act, he begged me not to say anything to his sister but I would feel horrible if I didn't tell his sister :-( what can I do??? I'm stuck by being trustworthy to both of them and I don't want him to do drugs but I don't want him to feel like he can't trust me and I don't want her to know that I kept something from her, I want to protect them both

@Max, you know using drugs can be dangerous.  Keeping your the brother's secret is not protecting him.  Sometimes, you have to make difficult decision when it comes to keeping someone safe.  Is there a way you can anonymously alert someone to his drug use?  Can you tell the school counselor?  

i have recently found out that one of my friends boyfriend is a drug dealer. His brother just passed away from over dosing, and im afraid shes doing drugs too. I'm really worried what should i do

AnnieAnn, this is a very dangerous situation.  You need to get help from a trusted adult now.  Tell a parent, school counselor, teacher, neighbor, or friend as soon as you can.  It can feel like betraying your friend when you "tell on her," but it might save her life.

I have a friend who is taking methodrone, I've told him to get help everyone has and he just isn't listening :( he went away to 'sort himself out' but he could only handle 2 days and he came back and is now on it again, he's changed so much as a person, he isn't the same bestfriend I used to know and it's breaking my heart :( his parents know but he doesn't listen to them. Nothing is getting through to him. Is it too late??

It's never too late, Shaneice.  Listen to your friend, be supportive, and continue to encourage him to get help.  You can also connect with Al-Anon to learn ways to cope with your friend's behavior and for more advice on how to help him.  

My cousin said that she was doing drugs. She did drugs for four times (marihuana). I am very worried about her. Because she is so young and I want to tell someone but I just can't. I know I would feel like betraying her but I am also very afraid, she can become an addict. Also her boyfriend does drugs and he bought drugs for my couisn. I told her that she needed to stop doing this... She first started doing this because she found some drugs in her uncle's and she told me that she had been curious. I am just so lost, I really need to know what I have to do.

@Ash Moon, it's obvious that your cousin's behavior is weighing heavily on you.  You need to get help from a trusted adult—it's too much to handle on your own.  It may feel like you are betraying your cousin, but she needs help.  If you can help her stop using drugs now, it will save her a lot of grief in the future.  Is there someone you can confide in that will keep your conversation confidential?  A school couselor, maybe?

I've recently met one boy on birthay party. We became very close and now we tell everything eachother. I saved his life two times and he saved my once. There is nothing i wouldn't do for him. He have much problems in life, his dsd was in jail when he was little and his familie was very poor. He had very bad life. But he is very nice and caring person. He would do anything for me. We live i different cities and we meet once in a week when he comes to see me. He once says to me that he was diling drugs for some man but he told me to that he has stopped with that. But before few days he had some problems with his girlfriend and he bought some drugs and he is doing it again. He can't see anything bad in that. I told him that he will lost me if he go on with that. He says he will never do that again if I try it just once a little... Help me please. I dont know what to do, and i'm sorry cause my english iz not very good.

Sarah, it sounds like your friendship with this boy is very important to you.  However, he is pressuring you to try drugs "just once a little," which is not something a good friend would do.  Why would he stop doing drugs if you agree to try them?  It does not make sense. You need to talk to an adult and let them know this boy is in trouble and needs help.  

I told him I will not try it and if he do that again I will cut myself... It's something I was doing before I met him. He made me stop doing that. Last time I was doing that he came in 2 am to see me. I have promissed him that I will never do that again. He says he will never do drugs again if I never cut myself again... Did I do write thing??

Sarah, you did the right thing by refusing to try drugs, but threatening to cut yourself is unhealthy.  You need to talk to your parents or other trusted adult about the cutting.  It's dangerous and there is are ways to get help.  Please know it will get better.

I have found out that all my really close best friends are doing drugs. It started out with just one of them doing it but she ended up getting the rest of them involved in it to and now they hang out with her old friends from (a town) and they all do drugs to. I have done everything in my power to stop them and nothing has been working. I have recently lost a really close best friend to drugs and im so terrified for my other friends because I just cant imagine a life without them. They have been trying to cut to and one of my friends has tried to kill herself twice recently. She is getting help now but I am concerned she is not getting enough help. I just want no part of what they are doing but I want to help them and make them stop doing drugs. They don't understand how dangerous they are. I just want them safe but I also promised I wouldn't tell anyone about it. Please help. I would greatly appreciate any suggestions.

Hi Prue, this is too much for one person to handle.  You really need to involve a trusted adult.  We understand you promised you wouldn't tell, but you need help.  You can't make your friends stop doing drugs, but an adult can get your friends the help they need.  Good luck.  

my 'ex' is doing all kinds of crack , idk if i can rlly call him an ex cz my parents did not approve at all. But man i care about him so much , im just im gettin hurt seeing him like this, his parens never ask about him he barely goes home, he takes coke xtc and idk what else . i just dont know what to do im barely getting sleep these days i need to talk to him i just dk how
My friend's boyfriend tried weed and now he is smoking it almost everyday. We tried to convince him to stop but he won't. Now he is going to try acid, and we are worried about him. We have tried everything to make him stop but he won't and we think that he is going to become an addict. She doesn't want to tell his parents because she fears that he may dump her for it. What do I do?
How do I get my girlfriend to stop taking drugs? she mostly takes MDMA but she has taken gold bars and PG Tips before, when I have confronted her about her problem, she gets upset and angry at me because she says I'm trying to stop her doing what she wants, which I fully respect but not with drugs. My family has had a lot of hardship with drugs and I have explained that to her but she still doesn't want to know, how do I get her to hear me out?

It’s not usual for someone that is using drugs to feel that it is not a problem. And, if it is not interfering with their work/school, relationships, or activities it may be hard to convince them that it is a problematic behavior.  But already, her drug use is hurting her relationship with you—so it is not without consequence.  Talk to her family, let them know what she has been doing, and ask for their help.  

Hi, so a bunch of my friends, most of whom I've grown up with from the time we were kids do some pretty hard core drugs, over the years I've watched it progress from weed to E to lsd and now to coke.. These guys are all sensible adults.. Who function completely normal during their day to day lives.. But party way to hard when they do decide to party.. I'm not entirely sure if they are addicted to it or not.. They do it maybe once in 2 weeks or lesser.. But i am genuinely concerned.. Would it be wise to step in now and confront them about and addiction when I'm still not sure about it? Or would it be better to wait for stronger signs of addiction? I don't want them to push me out as a result,I prefer to know everything they are upto so I could counsel them when needed to
My best friend started exploring the life of weed freshmen year and I wasn't worried about it in the beginning, but later in sophomore year I found out her mom and step father were giving her the weed,so I knew I had to step in. I told her that she was following in her mothers footsteps, but every time she would deny it. It wasn't just the weed I was worried about it was her actions, because she started sleeping with other guys and think about doing harder drugs saying she would only do it when she wanted too. Now we are in junior year and all she wants to do is drugs and go with other guys... What should I do because I don't want to bury her before she could see a beautiful world.
i think that my best friend is addicted to drugs ecstasy , lsd , he had an OD lately he was about to die , and now he is having health issues and i found aout that he is still taking drugs he can't stop taking drugs i do care about him and i don't want him to get hurt , i promised him not to tell anyone about his addiction what should i do please

Hi nisrine, it sounds like you are right to be concerned for your friend's safety. You need to tell a trusted adult, like a parent or guidance counselor, who can help him get help before he gets seriously hurt. You or an adult can help him find a local treatment center by visiting https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/. You can also call the SAMHSA crisis line at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). They answer calls 24/7 and help people deal with lots of different problems.

My really good friend who is a girl has a boyfriend who is doing drugs. She doesn't know but I really think I should tell her but I don't want to ruin her relationship. What should I do?
There were a lot of people that I knew who did drugs in middle school. I wish that I had told someone so they could get help for it. I'm just finishing high school now, and a lot of those friends are addicted to the drugs now. Some of them have even OD'ed and ended up in the hospital. It's always a good idea to tell a parent or a teacher about their drug problem, so they can get help before it's too serious. This is a great page, I'm so glad there is a place that people can talk about this. [Commercial link removed per commenting guidelines]
I have a friend he is 13 and he is already heavily drinking and smoking marijuana. We r pretty close friends and I have confronted him about it and I have told him how worried I am about him. I would tell his mom but she already knows. Most of his family already knows they don't care. He used to be a good kid earned mostly A's and B's in school then his parents split up and he got messed up in the wrong crowd he started stealing and drinking and expirementing with drugs. He has told me he regrets everything and his biggest fear is himself and he pushes himself away from everybody fearing he will hurt them just like he hurt everyone else when he started going down hill. He wants to quit but is afraid him so called friends will abandon him and he will be alone and even more depressed. I want more then anything to help him but I just don't know how. He tells me before he does anything so I have done all-nighters on school nights and test days talking to him trying to convince him out of something. I don't know what to do. Deep down he is wants help but if he doesn't want his "friends" to find out. Is there anything I can do to help him.

Hi Grace, this is too much for you to handle on your own. You need to talk to a trusted adult, like a parent or guidance counselor. Even if his mom doesn't know what to do, somebody will want to help him. If he's ready to quit, you or an adult can help him find a treatment center using some of the resources on this page: http://www.samhsa.gov/treatment/index.aspx

If you need advice or need to talk to somebody, you can always call the national crisis line at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to talk to somebody about what you're going through.

A person that I know and kind of likes me at school smokes weed and I don't want to be abrupt and I don't want to tell the health teacher because the'll tell me to mind my business so what should I do? (WE'RE ONLY IN 6TH GRADE!!!!!!!)

Hi CJ, this isn't a problem you should have to handle on your own. You need to tell a trusted adult, like a parent or guidance counselor, who can help your friend. If you want advice, you can also call the SAMHSA crisis line at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). They answer calls 24/7 and help people deal with lots of different problems.

My friend is making a new friend who just got out of juvey for smoking weed. My friend told me that he started smoking weed too. Im really worried about him and dont know what to do. talking to the school counselor would be my first choice, except that i dont think it would really help him and his new "friend" got thrown in juvey because someone told the counselor. what can i do? please help!

You can tell your friend why you're worried about him and share some of the things that worry you about marijuana use, like this page: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/marijuana

If you want to talk to somebody but aren't sure about going to the school counselor, you can always call the national crisis line at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) .

Hes injecting heroin.no parents. No money. Family gave up.but I cannot. I want to help him.hes too young n handsome for this life. Help me.what do I do to help. Cz he wants to stop

Hi Lerato, if your friend wants to get treatment to overcome addiction, you may be able to find a program through SAMHSA's substance abuse treatment facility locator at https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/ or 1-800-662-HELP (4357). 

I have been dating him 4 4months now n hes on heroin. Hes a twin. The mother is gone 4 too long now.the other twin is normal but still struggling. So I thought if I helped where would I start. Where will I gt help.coz he wants to stop for real.pllllleeeaaase help south africans.I want the best life 4 hm
To whom it may concern, My name is Vanessa I'm 19 years old I recently found out that my brother is doing cocaine from a family member he's 18 years old although me and him don't get along I obviously do care about him I know I have to tell my mother about this but its difficult I don't know how to tell my mom i need to tell her before its too late before he hurts himself or others i feel so guilty I know he does drugs he comes home and acts crazy he always has strong crazy glue he inhales it and locks himself in the restroom for hours he smokes weed for sure my mom caught him it was supposely a wake up call for him he promised my mom he wasn't going to do drugs he was going to stop this happend last year but he still uses it he sometimes comes home late at night drunk and he is very aggressive my mom can't even handle it. I also. Found out my 14 year old brother asked my 18 year old brother he wants to smoke weed. what do I do?

Hi Vanessa, if you want help figuring out how to talk to your mom, you can read some of the resources on this page: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/have-a-drug-problem-need-help You can also always call the SAMHSA crisis line that answers calls 24-7 if you want to talk to someone. They're a really good resource, and you can reach them at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

i know someone who is doing drugs but he/she has gone too jail many times but there is this person that would hate me if i turned him/her in but i think he needs to be turned in because he is hurting people emotionally and other things and i think i should turn him in

It's great that you want to help your friend. You might want to check out some of the resources on this page about helping people who are using drugs, including information about treatment: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/have-a-drug-problem-need-help

If you want to talk to someone about your specific situation, you can always contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/.

I just found out today that my best friend smokes drugs that her dad brings home. We have never met in real life because we met over the Internet and have been talking for about two years. She is really important to me and she's a very fragile person. I want to tell her to stop but don't know how. I'm afraid I'll lose a friend if I tell her to stop and afraid she'll die or go to jail if I don't. We are both very young and have our entire lives ahead of us! She even asked me if we ever met in person if I would smoke with her. Of corse not! It's gross and deadly! Please help me on how I should get her to stop and know that I'm uncomfortable with it. Thank you

Hi Lili, it’s great that you want to help your friend. In addition to the suggestions for talking to them in this post, you can check out some of the resources on this page that have more information about help for people using drugs: https://teens.drugabuse.gov/have-a-drug-problem-need-help. If you aren't sure what to do or just want to talk to someone, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

A friend of mine who ive known since 2nd grade has started doing drugs at first it started with weed and it was causual with some new friends she met at the school then she started going out with this guy who basically devotes his lofe to skateboarding and getting high and now she told me she did shrums and she may be doing other drugs since her friends do meth, i really wanna help her but i dont know how.


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