Friends are an important part of our lives, so what happens when one of your friends becomes addicted to opiates? I have some close friends who feel like family members. Most people know every little detail about their good friends from their favorite color to their favorite foods and movies. If you suspect a good friend of yours is abusing opiates and want to help out, there are certain ways to go about doing so. It may be hard to put yourself in their shoes when you can not comprehend why they are using in the first place.
I am contacted often by people who have a really close friend that they are worried about. They may or not know for sure if their friend is addicted to opiates but I am going to give you some pointers on what to look out for and what to do to help your friends the best way that you can. It is important to understand that addiction is extremely complex and there is not a one-shoe-fits-all solution for curing addiction.
The first thing to do is stop second guessing whether they have an issue or not. If you see a personality change and their priorities becoming the opposite of what you know them to be, it's very likely they may have a problem. It doesn't necessarily mean they are addicted to opiates or any drugs, but it's important to look for certain signs. If they were once concerned about their appearance and it has since changed (normally for the worse) take notice. Now obviously little changes do not mean someone is automatically an addict. It's more along the lines of seeing lots of little changes that make the abuse obvious. Many addicts stop being social with friends and rather than going out and having fun, would rather stay home. Their motivation to stay in shape may dwindle and going to the gym or exercising will most likely stop. Their eating habits will most likely change as well, usually for the worse.
One of the most obvious signs you may notice is that they are always out of money. If you start to notice personal belongings of yours missing, there is a good chance they may have taken them. When an addict gets desperate they will sometimes steal to feed their addiction even from people they are close to. Addiction doesn't discriminate, and in fact your friends may be more inclined to steal from you knowing that if they get caught the repercussions will not be as bad if they stole from a stranger. Keep on eye on your belongings and if approached for money, ask diligently what it is for.
Now if some of these things are very familiar to you and fit the description of your friends behavior you may want to talk with them about what is going on. Most important is to be positive and show that you care. Never be pushy or try to get too much information because when an addict feels cornered they will lie and try to manipulate you into thinking that you are way off with your accusations. Addicts have to want to get clean on their own. It's important to understand that you can not force an addict to get clean, they will have to be ready on their own. As a friend it's important that you are there for support. Let them know that as their friend you care for them, and only want the best for them. If they come to you for help, do whatever you can. (call rehab centers, local hospitals, addiction groups, etc to try to find them professional help) You may just end up saving their life.