When you suspect that a friend or classmate is using drugs or alcohol, it may be hard to sit back and watch if you know that it is wrong. Sometimes it’s best to get an adult or counselor involved, but if you decide to talk to your friend on your own, you should be prepared for the situation. Pay attention to the signs of drug use, and make sure your friend knows you are trying to help because you care.
How to Know If Someone Is Using
If someone is using drugs or alcohol, there may be some warning signs you can look out for. According to an article from Listen Magazine, the following signs may mean your friend is using drugs or alcohol:
- Lying about where he is going or what he is doing
- Pressuring others to try drugs or alcohol
- Dropping out of activities he used to participate in
- Acting or feeling depressed or hopeless
- Acting selfish
- Not coming to school
- Showing a drastic change in mood or behavior
- Showing up drunk or high at school
- Missing class often
- Borrowing or stealing money
How You Can Help
Speak your mind! Approach your friend and ask to have a conversation in private. Assure him that you only want to help and that you won’t share your conversation with anyone. If he admits to using drugs or alcohol, give him some recommendations for help. Above the influence recommends waiting until a time when the person is not drunk or high to talk to have this conversation.
- Have your friend call a hotline
- Show your friend the facts
- Get your friend to visit the guidance counselor
- Listen to your friend and what he has to say
- Remind him that it isn’t his fault
- Notice your tone of voice; remember not to sound critical
- Have a plan: know what you are going to say
If you have a friend or classmate who may be using drugs, refer him to a counselor, an adult or someone else. Our website also has a wealth of resources for substance abuse prevention and rehabilitation.