Drugs can be a difficult topic to discuss, especially if you think your friend or family member has a problem.
Try to keep an open mind and remember that with the right help and support, most people get over using before serious damage occurs. Also, even if you offer support, they might not change their behavior.
You or your friend can call FRANK anytime0300 123 6600for confidential advice.
People use drugs for many reasons. Having a better idea of why your friend is using drugs will help you when talking to him.
Some people use drugs occasionally for fun, socializing and relaxation. Taking drugs may not become a problem for these people and they are likely to stop when they are ready. You can still remind your friend that some drugs are illegal and can affect his physical and mental health, especially if he's still growing up.
Some people use drugs to escape difficult feelings they struggle to deal with. They may be depressed, anxious or insecure and may think the drugs are helping them when they are actually making things worse. If you think this is the case, take it easy with your friend and find ways to help him think about why he is using drugs and how he can do without them. If necessary, suggest that they seek professional help.
To fit in
Some people use drugs to fit in or because friends pressure them to do so. You can offer to do things with them that don't involve drug use.
Some people are just curious. They may try drugs once or twice to see what it's like and then decide to stop. Remember that most people who experiment with drugs do not continue using them.
Drugs can be a difficult topic to discuss, especially if you think your friend has a problem. There is no right or wrong way to talk about drugs, but there are some general guidelines you can follow to make things easier.
Talk to your friend:
- when you're both sober and not high
- somewhere private and familiar (your friend might get excited)
- when you have a lot of time, it's not a conversation you can rush
- more than once - you may need to have multiple conversations
Don't talk to your friend in a way that:
- is critical or judgmental, it will not help
- doesn't give them time to talk – try talking less and listening more
- Assume Superiority: Don't Act Like You Know Better (Even If That's What You Think)
Remember that you or your friend can call FRANK at any time0300 123 6600for confidential advice.
You can't make your friend do anything he doesn't want to do, but you can help him.
Start by encouraging your friend to stay away from places where they would normally use drugs (such as a bar or a partner's house) and suggest other activities.
You can also remind your friend of the potential dangers of using too many medications and where you can get accurate information about what you are using. No matter what happens, make sure your friend knows you're around and happy to talk, that you're there to help and not judge.
What do I have to do?
Worrying about a friend's drug use is stressful and it's up to you to decide how to deal with it. You can try to help your friend, you can decide to put up with it and not say much, or you can decide to back off and not be very supportive.
There are advantages and disadvantages to each of these options, and it's essential that you think about your own well-being when deciding which approach to take. You may also need support and/or professional help.
Most people only develop an addiction (or psychological dependency) after taking a drug regularly. It is highly unlikely that anyone will develop an addiction after taking drugs once or twice, or drinking once or twice.
Some signs that a person is becoming addicted to alcohol or drugs are:
- take the medicine too regularly or drink it too regularly
- taking it despite trying to reduce or stop
- lie about how much they take or take on the sly
- they continue to take it despite the damage it is doing
- they drink or do drugs alone
- doing extreme things to get the drug or alcohol, such as stealing, going into debt, or faking symptoms to get prescription drugs
- they do less of the things they enjoy because drugs or alcohol get in the way
Remember that people who are addicted (or dependent) often don't believe they are, or feel they can't admit it.
So if you think your friend has a problem and you want to help them, think about how you're going to approach them and what you're going to say, since you don't want to upset them.
And if they don't listen to you at first, don't be discouraged. Just give them some space and try again in a bit.
If your friend needs medical help, whether it's a clinic or an ambulance, it's essential that you tell the people who see you everything you know about the medications they've taken.
And if any medicine is left, give it to the doctors, as this can help them understand the problem.
They won't tell the police and you won't be in trouble.
If your friend is caught with drugs, he could be in trouble. They may receive a warning, arrest, formal reprimand or conviction. This will depend on the drugs they were caught with and what they are doing with them.
If your friend gets caught with drugs at school or college, he could be in trouble there too. Being caught with drugs at school or college can lead to suspension or expulsion and police involvement.
It is difficult to know what the effects of drug use are. Most people who try drugs do not continue to use them, and some people use drugs regularly without developing a problem.
It all depends on who's taking it, the person's mood, what drug they're taking, what they're mixing it with and where they're taking it.
Physical health effects
Drug use can leave users feeling tired and drained. Sometimes people also have more spots and colds. If someone starts using drugs regularly, the damage can start to build up, leading to long-term health problems like liver, kidney and nerve damage.
Mental health effects
Drug use can make people feel extraordinarily emotional with mood swings. Sometimes there can be serious mental health issues like panic attacks and depression. Anyone with a family history of mental health issues should be especially careful when taking drugs, as they themselves may be at greater risk.
Anyone can overdose on drugs, even if they're experienced with drugs and think they know what they're doing. Fit and healthy young people have died of heart attacks after taking drugs because of the toxic effects drugs can have on the body.
Acting out of place and personal safety
Some people take drugs because they make them less inhibited, but this too can have negative effects. They may do things they normally wouldn't do and later regret, like having unprotected sex. If your friend is in a bad mood or has a bad experience with drugs, he is vulnerable and may need help and care.
get into debt
Some medications are not necessarily expensive, but frequent use can still put people in debt and financial trouble.
If you are concerned about the effects of a specific drug, take a look atdrugs from a to z
It could be that your friend uses drugs to deal with a difficult situation or to block out something that happened in the past.
Your friend may have told you something very personal that he doesn't want you to repeat, but it has to do with his drug use.
If that's the case, you'll probably need to get professional help from your friend, and you can do so without losing their trust:
call Frank anytime0300 123 6600for confidential advice
contact one of the youth and adultsdrug treatment organizationsin your area
Remember that you don't have to tell your friend what happened, just that your friend needs help controlling his drug use.
- Do you feel pressured to use drugs? Here are 10 ways to deal with it.