My friend is thinking about using drugs. What can I do? This is a nearly universal situation that people of all ages, races, religions, backgrounds, genders, orientations, and countries of origin have faced for years. Now that more is known about the disease of addiction, there are some more clearly answers to be found in situations like this.
It is still a complicated situation to address, but it can be done thoughtfully and tactfully in order to preserve both your friendship and the life of your friend. The first thing to keep in mind is to hold your own boundaries firmly. If your friend is thinking about using drugs, then they may try to tempt you to try drugs with them as well. If you are in a situation where you might try drugs, you need to immediately remove yourself from that situation. If your friend has drugs with them that they are thinking about trying you may also wish to leave immediately in order to avoid trouble, legal or otherwise.
Warn Them Firmly and Thoughtfully
If you have a friend who is considering drug use, you should always be sure to discourage them firmly and thoughtfully. Maybe they have not thought the decision through clearly. Make sure to communicate clearly to them that you do not want them to become a drug addict, that you do not want them to become ill, and you do not want them to die.
It is important to avoid treating the situation too dramatically or too casually but trying drugs even once can lead to a lifetime of addiction and pain for your friend. If you are a real friend you will not want this for them. You will also want to clearly communicate the facts about addiction when talking with your friend about their urges. Make sure that they fully understand that addiction does not play favorites. Anyone can end up broke, homeless, ill, impoverished, dead, and despised from the clutches of addiction. A good friend does not want this future for anyone who they care about and they will communicate this. Do not be afraid to seem like you are not fun or accepting.
Enforce Healthy Boundaries
If your friend wants you to hang around while they use drugs, it is important that you say no to them. This will be the first of many healthy boundaries that you will have to set if your friend chooses to head down the road of active drug use and addiction. Setting healthy boundaries also means that you will have to avoid enabling your friend. You will want to be cautious not to lend your friend any money that they could use to obtain drugs. While setting healthy boundaries, you can still make sure to remain a good example of a sober lifestyle. In due time, your friend might see what a nice time you are having sober and want to return to being sober as well.
Leave Them with Resources
It is understandable that you will not want to completely abandon a friend just because they are thinking about trying drugs. One helpful thing that you can do is compile a list of resources and phone numbers for your friend to keep on hand just in case they do find that their use has gotten out of hand and they want to quit. This list might include rehabilitation facilities, sober living facilities, meetings, therapists, sponsors, or emergency hotlines.
You can also share information and statistics with them that may be helpful in getting them to reconsider drug use. Often people do not realize just how deadly addiction can be. A little more information can be the difference between your friend’s choice to use drugs or not use them, so be sure to share the helpful information that they may need to hear.
If you think it is appropriate, you might want to tell someone close to your friend that they are considering a negative and life altering choice, for example a parent, a spouse, a sibling, or a close friend. Being trusted with this information can be a large burden to handle but there are more people here for you friend besides you only. Our counselors are available 24 hours a day. Call 866-963-7200.