helping a friend

You may not be using drugs, alcohol or legal highs yourself but you may be worried about a friend who is. If you want to help your friend, it’s important to do the following things:

Get the right information
There are a lot of myths and misinformation out there about drugs and alcohol, so make sure you get your info from a reliable source.

FRANK is always a good place to start. For more in-depth information, you could also check out Drugscope , which is the UK’s leading independent centre of expertise on drugs.

If you want to talk to someone neutral, youth and Connexions workers, school nurses and other support workers all have access to good information.

Talk with your friend, don’t lecture them
When you have done your research you will be in a better position to understand why your friend might be using drugs, alcohol or legal highs and the risks and effects of what they are using.

Try to encourage your friend to discuss their use, and talk with them about the info that you’ve found. If might be hard not to, especially if you’re worried about them, but try not to lecture them or tell them what they’re doing is “wrong” – it’ll probably only push them away from you.

Instead, tell them about the concerns you have and encourage them to make informed choices about their drug or alcohol use.

Let them know you’re there for them
The most important thing is to make your friend feel supported.
People have to make up their own minds about whether they use drugs, alcohol or legal highs or not.

The best support you can give is through making sure they have the facts about whatever they’re using and by being there to listen when they need you to. You can also let them know about our service, and encourage them to check out our website or give us a call.

Get some support for yourself
Supporting friends with drug or alcohol issues can be very draining, so it’s important that you can also talk to someone to get some support for yourself. Don’t be afraid of talking to a parent or carer about things – they’ll want to help you as they’ll have your best interests at heart.

If you don’t feel that you can talk to a parent or carer, then there are professionals out there who can help, including youth and Connexions workers, school nurses, and other support workers. If you’d like some help being put in touch with someone, call us for assistance on 01273 293966.

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