About Substance Use
Talk to Your Family
Talk to Your Family about Substance Use
The Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services (DMHAS) LIVE LOUD campaign has a great overview on the Do’s & Don’ts of talking to your loved ones about their substance use. Visit for more information:
Do’s and Don’ts
Addiction is an illness that not only affects the person misusing substances, but also the people who have relationships with that person. You may be wondering how to approach this situation and these tips are to help guide you. Here are some Do’s and Don’ts of helping a loved one who is struggling with OUD:
There are some things you can do to support you and your loved one.
- Educate yourself: The more you understand, the better you can provide the love and support you need to help your loved one during this tough time.
- Set boundaries and stick to them: Make sure you’re putting yourself first, and then you can help your loved one. You’re of no help to them if you’re not taking care of yourself.
- Provide support: The most important thing you can do is provide support to your loved one. Let them know you love them and you care as often as possible, without going over your boundaries.
There are some things you should not do or say to loved ones who are misusing substances. These include:
- Criticize: For example, try to avoid negative comments about the person’s choices, behaviors, or character.
- Enable:Try not to protect them from the consequences of their actions (e.g. giving money, providing transportation to dangerous areas).
- Demonize:You may believe that your loved one is completely accountable for their addiction. This may make your loved one feel hopeless rather than supported.
- Expect results right away: Understanding is the key to helping your loved one. Don’t do anything that you’ll regret later. Be there for them and support them – it’s the positivity that will help them, not the negativity.