What Should I Say?

You’ve already learned the things to keep in mind when talking with a friend who is using drugs or alcohol. But approaching a friend and finding the right words can still be tough and scary sometimes.

When you talk, your friends will listen – even if you’ve tried drugs or alcohol yourself. You may be worried that your friend will be mad at you – but if you really think that he or she needs help, you need to say something.

Remember to always follow these steps as you plan to talk with your friend about his/her use.

  • We’re going to be friends no matter what, so don’t worry about that. We’ve had some great adventures together and it’s been fun. But I’m getting worried about your drug/alcohol use. I’ve seen you stoned/high a few times now and it’s not healthy – I’m afraid that you are hurting yourself. I’m also afraid that you are going to get into trouble if you keep going the way you’re going. Plus, when you’re using, you can get me in trouble, too. I just really hope we can talk about what’s going on with you. There are also people you can talk to confidentially who can help. It’s not too late for you to change things in your life.
  • I’m concerned you are using drugs/alcohol because you are unhappy or depressed – or maybe some other things are bothering you at home or at school. I know it’s hard, but drugs/alcohol are not the way to deal with your problems. Actually, you might not know this, but drug use can actually increase a person’s likelihood of experiencing mental health problems like depression and anxiety. I feel like you will be making your problems worse by using drugs and alcohol. I want to help you work through this, and if we can’t fix it, there are people you can confidentially talk with who can help.
  • I’m afraid that people are starting to talk about you and your drug/alcohol use. It’s not healthy, and I think you need to stop. You’re getting a bad reputation. Sooner or later, other people are going to find out (like school or your parents) and that will cause even more problems for you.
  • I’m also concerned about the messages online you are posting about using drugs. Did you know that school can suspend you for what you do/say online, and college admissions officers and potential employers check your online profiles when you apply for colleges or jobs? You don’t want to ruin your reputation or future for something stupid like this.
  • I don’t like having to talk about this, but I am worried about your drug/alcohol use. I’m here to help you and so are the rest of your friends. We can do fun things that don’t include drugs/alcohol use. There are confidential hotlines that can help and you can call them without getting into trouble. If you think you need to talk with an adult like a counselor, your parents, or a health care professional, I can go with you. I can even start the conversation. Just let me know.
image of pills Privilege, Pressure & Pills
I never would have imagined motivated, bright students, with everything going for them, turning to drug use.
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