Worried about someone?
If you decide to approach the person you’re concerned about, there are a few things you may want to consider before you do:
- Keep informed
Find out as much as you can about the drug being used and its effects; There are desired and undesired effects of drugs, and understanding both will help you facilitate a meaningful discussion.
- Keep emotions in check
Make sure that you’re prepared to raise the issue without becoming emotional or judemental. Rehearse what you’ll say and how you’ll say it until you become confident that you can stay calm and focused. Share your observation and concerns for the person as objectively as you can without making judgment statements, criticizing, talking down to them, giving advice, or becoming emotionally aroused or overwhelmed.
- Discuss issues openly
Be specific about your concerns. Tell them why you worry. Listen and try to understand where they are coming from. If the person’s drug use is impacting on you, let them how you are being impacted, be clear about your own needs. You may say: “When you drink, you tend to become loud and argumentative, and this scares me. It also frightens the children. I worry that your drinking is getting out of hand. and I am wondering if at times, you’re concerned about it as well?”.
- Speak to a counsellor
Counsellors can help you figure out the best way to approach the person and this will vary from situation to situation.
Have an understanding of reasons and patterns of substance use:
- Many people try drugs once or twice out of curiosity and don’t keep using it.
- Some people use drugs for specific purposes; For example a person may be using meth for reasons such as to stay awake (e.g. long-distance drivers); improve concentration (e.g. students); reduce weight; to enhance endurance (e.g. for sporting events); or to boost energy.
- Some people use drugs occasionally for enjoyment, to socialize at parties, clubs, dance parties etc.
- Others use moderate to high doses in an on-off pattern (‘bingeing’).
- Some people use drugs weekly, several times a week, or even daily. Regular users are more likely to become dependent on drugs, have great difficulty cutting down or stopping, and have problems with their physical and mental health.
Not every person who uses drugs is dependent/has an addiction, so it’s important to acknowledge this fact when you raise
the issue with your family member.