Hi Friends, I want to let you know drug addiction was NOT our topic for this week, but I felt drawn to this topic today due to a job training I participated in just this morning. My training helped me realize the lack of empathy and support we have for drug addicts; it is not fair, and I would like for us to become more aware.
We have all experienced drug addiction in some capacity, here is how you may be able to help your loved one/friend/or even a stranger:
1. Show some compassion and/or empathy:
Compassion and empathy are two key factors that will help you gain the trust of your friend or relative that may be suffering from drug addiction. If you want him/her to understand how their addiction affects their friends and relatives, you should be different from everyone else. Be the least likely to judge. Having empathy also means not focusing the negatives that the person is doing or has done, but instead focusing your energy on treatment
2. Have realistic expectations:
Do not preach, they are usually unable to listen and comprehend what you are saying. Continue to hold them accountable of their actions and expectations and offer help to direct them to the treatment they need. Do not expect addicts to keep promises, they are not able to do so while in the process of their [disease]. Also, try not to react with pity and/or anger, it will chase them away.
3. Establish Trust:
If a drug addicted person has already betrayed your trust, regaining, and maintaining it can be tough. However, establishing trust both ways is an important first step in helping someone with addiction think about change. Try your best not to be “preachy” or nag the person who may be addicted to drugs. Do not engage in addictive behaviors around the addict, they will think you are a hypocrite (and rightfully so).
Many people do not realize how common it is to suffer from both an addiction and a mental illness. Sometimes the mental illness—such as anxiety, depression, or even obsessive-compulsive disorder can be what brings addiction to the surface of a person’s being. It then begins to affect them in several areas of their life, making addiction a mode of self-medication that seems to never end. As drug use becomes more frequent, problems persist making the mental illness seem worse, driving the self-medication to continue in a cyclical fashion!
Before I go, I would like to add some ways to help an overdose victim:
- Call 911 (of course)
- Take them to a local fire station or hospital.
- Have a Narcotic Kit handy (Narcotic kits are given for free at your local pharmacy, you just need to show ID)
I would like to thank you guys so much for engaging with me every week for over a month now. I look forward to providing you with great reads to start off your week!
Boys Town National Hotline
1 (800) 448-3000
Crisis and resource line staffed by counselors to provide information about a variety of issues, including chemical dependency.
Covenant House Teen Hotline (NineLine)
1 (800) 999-9999
General hotline for adolescents, teens and their families. Assistance with any kind of problem—including alcohol and drug use. Covenant House specializes in homeless and runaway youth.
National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD)
1 (800) NCA-CALL (622-2255)
NCADD’s HOPE LINE directs callers to numerous affiliate programs around the country to assist, at a local level, with substance use issues.
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
1 (800) 662-HELP (4357)
National agency dedicated to prevention of drug use, and treatment of existing drug problems. You can get around-the-clock help in finding local drug treatment centers.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline
1 (800) 662-HELP (4357)
1 (800) 487-4889 (TDD) for hearing impaired
Confidential information service for individuals and family members faced with substance use disorders and/or mental health issues. Information available in English and Spanish.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1 (800) 273-TALK (8255)
Not just a suicide hotline, this lifeline offers help with issues of drug and alcohol use.
Partnership for Drug-Free Kids
1 (855) DRUG-FREE (378-4373)
While not a crisis line, this hotline provides information to parents about adolescent and teen drug use, prevention, and treatment.