How to Help a Friend

Do you have a friend who is drinking alcohol or doing drugs? Are you worried about them? Are they doing reckless things, like driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs? Are their grades going down?

Your friends may not appreciate advice that they don’t want to hear, especially if they are using drugs or alcohol. However, telling the truth to help someone close to you is part of being a real friend, even when it’s hard to do.

What to Say

Tell your friend that you’re concerned – it could make a big difference. However, keep in mind that they may not want to talk about it, and the effects that drugs have on the brain may keep him or her from “hearing” you or acting on your advice.

Let your friend know that you are there for them and that they aren’t 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 they go talk to someone who can help them, like a school counselor or a family friend.

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.

Make sure you don’t let your friends’ drink and drive, and certainly don’t ride with them if they do. Try to keep them from doing anything dangerous or embarrassing, like trying to walk home alone late at night, starting a fight or doing a silly prank.