Your friend is an integral, inseparable part of your life. And to see them in pain hurts you to the core. If you suspect your friend has a problem with prescription drugs, now is the time to do something about it.

While your friend’s well-being and safety aren’t necessarily your responsibility, it is your job to let them know how it is affecting you and offer to help find solutions.

There is hope for prescription drug addiction. And the first step to finding help begins with you.

Signs to Notice

Excessive Mood Swings: Prescription drugs can drastically alter the emotional state of the user, and their emotions are seldom even-keeled.

Stealing: Pills, when acquired illegally, aren’t cheap. Many users resort to theft to support their habit.

Restlessness or Lack of Sleep: Like mood swings, many prescription drugs alter the user’s internal clock and cause sleeplessness and/or alertness.

Neglected Responsibilities: For many prescription drug users, the drug comes ahead of any other responsibilities—family, friends, school or work.

Doctor Shopping: Your friend may be visiting several physicians in order to maintain a supply of their prescription drug of choice.

What to Say

Be Forceful, but Positive: What you say matters just as much as how you say it. Use positive, hopeful, inspiring language when talking to your friend.

Express Concern: Many people who use prescription drugs aren’t aware of the impact their use has on their family, friends or others. Show your concern for them and appeal to them emotionally.

Ask Open-Ended Questions: Don’t just preach—have an open-ended dialogue with them. Ask open-ended questions such as “what do you think?” to engage with them.

What Not to Say

Making Judgements: Addiction is a disease, and making sweeping judgements about your friend is a hard thing to avoid. Don’t be judgemental. What would you like to hear if you were in their shoes?

Using Labels: Don’t assign labels when speaking to your friend. Your friend isn’t a drug addict, they’re a person struggling from drug issues. Use hopeful, embracing and accepting terms instead of confining, harmful ones.

Steps to Take

Before you have a conversation with your friend, find a resource to send them to. It’s not fair to confront someone without having a next step. When the time is right, have a firm but loving conversation about your choice to have them seek help. Make sure you use encouraging and non-judgemental languagethroughout your conversation. And—above all—be a friend, not a preacher. They need your help, not your admonishment, and it’s your job to get them the help they need.

Self-Withdrawal: self-withdrawal from prescription drug use has a significant impact on the body, including anxiety, seizure, sweating, hypertension and possible death. It is important for your friend to detox with medical supervision.

Finding the Right Resource

Everyone who is trying to defeat their issues with prescription drugs needs a resource to help. Prescription drug abuse may not be something your friend can conquer by themselves. When determining the right place to recommend to a friend, consider these four things:

  • Is the behavioral services facility CARF accredited?
  • Are they committed to enhancing your quality of life?
  • Can they help your friend meet their personal recovery goals?
  • Can they create a custom recovery plan to help them on their recovery journey?

The journey to manage addiction may not be quick, but it’s an important mission. There is hope, and your friend can find help at Prelude.