Be A Friend

If you have a friend misusing substances, you might wonder if your friend's actions are normal for a teenager, or if there's something serious going on. First, read through the Understanding Substance Misuse page if you haven't already. Ask if any of the signs and symptoms match your friend. Keep in mind that many substance misusers hide the extent of their use, so you may not have had a chance to see some of the signs.

Then, go through the 5 steps. Unfortunately, the "help connect" step may be difficult as many misusing substances are reluctant to get help. You probably will need to tell a school counselor, parent, or other trusted adult about your friend's misuse so they can get the help they need.

What to say?

Nobody expects you to know exactly what to say, including your friend. The main goal is to show that you're trying, while keeping an open mind. Try phrases like:

  • What you're going through seems really hard. Any way I can help?
  • Can you tell me more about how you're feeling? I want to understand.
  • I have noticed you seem to be doing better lately. Is that how it feels for you?
  • Thank you for sharing what you're going through with me, I know it's not always easy.
  • Have you thought about finding support? Maybe I could help you look.
  • Wanna get together and go shopping on Friday?