Expert Chat: Getting help with Drug Addiction

Kellie and Michael work for a drug and alcohol charity based in Newcastle upon Tyne and have over 20 years of experience between them. Here, they will be talking about all things related to drug addiction.

Brandon: How can you tell if someone is addicted? I’m worried about my friend but don't know what to do to help him.

Kellie and Michael: Hi Brandon, how’s things? What substance do you think it is? Really, if they can’t get through a normal day without taking it or they use it to cope is a good sign, they might have a problem.

Brandon: It's mainly weed, but it’s whatever he can get his hands on. I think he smokes weed every day.

Kellie and Michael: If he is smoking it every day, he may well be addicted. Remember, the best way to support someone is to listen to them first. Let them know that you aren’t judging them or looking down on them. I know it’s an old saying but the first step for people is admitting they have a problem and if they think you will judge them - they won’t tell you that they need help. I would speak to him and tell him you are worried and maybe even suggest to him to reduce how much he smokes, for example: reduce by one spliff or bucket a day, or try suggesting to him to smoke later on in the day so it helps him cut down. 100% - get them to go to a drugs service. That's why we are here - to help people with problems. Offer to go with them to the service or offer an ear to listen. Take a look at this Mix article about different ways you can help an addict if you have more questions. Drug misuse is so personal to each person that there is no one answer - so in short, don't judge and get them to a service. Are there any drug services near you he can get help from?

Brandon: I don't know much about drug services. How can I find out? I'm worried that there'll be the scary druggy people in there? Will the police want to talk to me if I go to drug services?

Kellie and Michael: I don't know how old you are, but there are specialist young peoples’ services in every part of the country and they are confidential so the police won’t be there. They are genuinely there to help you. You could chat to The Mix who can help you find local services, or read more about drug treatments/services. I know what you mean about scary drug people but there will be people just like you who need a bit of help so you’ll be fine.

Brandon: How do people all of a sudden become addicted? Is it completely self-inflicted?

Kellie and Michael: People get addicted for loads of different reasons. Sometimes, people take something every day because they like the feeling, then before they know it, they can’t function without it. Other people become addicted because they can’t cope with something or use drugs or drink to get a head change. Just to feel different or get away from their life. We work with people who have lost their legs from injecting drugs or lost their arms, lost literally everything they own. It’s a horrible cycle people get caught up in and don't know how to get out. Kind of like getting sucked into a tornado and trying to fight your way out.

Camila: I think I’m becoming reliant on Lorazepam, I’ve spoken to people about it but it was no use, and I don’t know what the next step should be? Like I don’t want to be taken off it though...

Kellie and Michael: Lorazepam is an addictive drug to take so you can’t just stop taking it, it could be dangerous for you. You need to speak to your doc or a drugs service and they will be able to help you. Have you been on them long?

Camila: I’ve had it as prescription for about 2 years, I tried speaking to the Dr but he wasn’t much help, all he suggested was taking me off them. Will a drug service help if it's prescription ones though?

Kellie and Michael: Yeah they will help if it is prescribed ones. We have a lot of people addicted to prescribed pain killers. If you feel the doc wasn't helping - go to your local drug service and they are there to help you with it and understand what is happening to your body and give you the best advice. They can often speak with the doc on your behalf if you don't feel that you can.

Next Steps

  • Addaction helps people recover from drug and alcohol addictions.
  • FRANK offers friendly, confidential advice on all things drugs-related. Call now on 0300 123 6600
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
  • Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.

Updated on 14-Nov-2017