Sara Bellum
November 5 2013

During NIDA’s 2013 Drug Facts Chat Day, several teens shared touching stories about friends who are struggling with drug abuse and asked how they can help.

Real Teen Stories

A teen from Croatan High School in North Carolina sent this:

Someone I'm close to has been smoking the past year. I haven't told anyone because I don't want it to affect him at home. I'm glad he hasn't done anything around me but I'm not sure what to do about it.

A teen from C.H.Yoe High School in Texas submitted this:

I have a friend who is…just out of control. If he finds a pill…no matter what it is he will take it. I am trying to get him to alter his foolish ways. What do you suggest I do to help him?

Another teen from Croatan High School in North Carolina sent this:

My best friend of 7 years has smoked cigarettes, smoked marijuana, and tried other drugs since she was 11. She has dealt with social services, law enforcement, and was sent to a foster home for 3 months. She has been back home for a month and says she's going to change. I love her and don't want her to go back down the same road again, but she doesn't want to hear it when I talk to her about drugs. How can I help her?

Tips for Helping a Friend

It can be really upsetting and scary to have friends who are struggling with drug abuse and addiction. Here are some tips for helping them:

  1. Start by being a good friend, which you likely already are because you’re concerned. As a good friend, you’re someone who can be trusted to provide good advice and listen when your friend needs to talk.
  2. Educate yourself about drugs and alcohol, and the problems they can cause. Then, you can give your friend the facts and refer them to resources to help them learn more. A good place to start is the NIDA for Teens Web site. It has fact sheets about many different drugs and their effects.
  3. Next, encourage your friend to talk to an adult who they can trust: maybe a teacher, coach, or a parent of another friend. If your friend doesn't feel comfortable talking to a trusted adult but is ready to seek help, then you can check out treatment resources in your community (some are available just for teens). If your friend feels like they're is in crisis, then they (or you) can call 1-800-273-TALK to talk confidentially to a professional who can help.

Has a friend ever leaned on you for help staying away from drugs or other problems? Tell us in comments what you did to help them, and let us know if you have other questions about dealing with tough stuff.

-->