Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs (ATOD) Safety Council
How to Help a Friend
Initiating a conversation about a friend's sunstance use can be difficult, but it can also make a lifesaving difference. Below are a few tips to start that conversation and let your friend/loved one know that you care and that you’re concerned.
- Educate yourself. Take time to learn about substance abuse.
- Provide Resources. Before talking with your friend/loved one, learn about the support services on and off-campus to assist with substance abuse recovery.
- Find a private place to discuss your worries.
- Avoid starting those conversations if one (or both parties) are intoxicated. Your message will be better received with a clear-head.
- Time the message. Your friend/loved one may be more receptive to the negative influence of substances after experiencing a problem related to drinking/substance use.
- Keep minimal expectations. Your friend/loved one may respond to your questions with anger, denial or leaving the conversation entirely. Don’t take this personally. Recognize that you have planted the seed should your friend/loved one recognize the problem.
- Support them. Let your friend/loved one know that you are available to connect them to on and off-campus resources whenever they are ready to reach out.
Remember, the road to recovery is often windy and steeped with hills and valleys along the way. You cannot fix a person, you can simply support them on their journey through recovery.