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Living with addiction can be stressful and painful for family members and loved ones. It can impact the stability of your home, the health of individuals and the family, and even finances. You can take steps to help your loved one, your family, and yourself.


Helpful Tips

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Steps to Take

  • Understand substance use disorder as a disease
  • Talk to your loved one about your concerns and offer them your help
  • Speak up and educate others on drug abuse issues
  • Offer support, love, and concern to those in need
  • Develop support networks among family members and friends
  • Recognize recovery as an ongoing process and stay involved
  • Remember to take good care of yourself

Actions to Avoid

  • Do not argue with your loved one while they are under the influence
  • Do not expect your loved one to stop using when you want them to
  • Do not try to make loved one feel guilty
  • Do not take on your loved one’s responsibilities.
  • Do not lie or make excuses for their behavior
  • Do not lecture, make threats or bribes with your loved one in order for them to stop using.

Adapted from the Massachusetts Substance Use Helpline


For more information on what to do if someone you care about is abusing drugs please visit the The National Institute on Drug Abuse website. To learn more about addiction, visit www.drugabuse.gov.

Know the Signs and Symptoms

Physical Signs

Sudden change in weight • Nausea and vomiting • Blood shot or glazed eyes • Slurred Speech • Dilated or constricted pupils • Paleness of skin • Headaches • Hyper-activity • Irregular heart beat

Emotional Changes

Mood Swings • Aggression • Depression • Anxiety • Isolation Compulsion • Inability to concentrate • Memory loss • Over sensitivity • Resentfulness towards others • Irritability

Behavioral Changes

Loss of interest • Neglecting responsibilities • Financial issues • Involvement in criminal activity • Change in habits • Problems at work / school • Increased secrecy • Changes in personal appearance • Loss of control • Risk taking

Life Saving Measures

Be prepared. If your loved one is abusing opioids they are at risk for overdose. Naloxone is a medication designed to rapidly reverse opioid overdose. It can reverse and block the effects of other opioids. It can very quickly restore normal respiration to a person whose breathing has slowed or stopped as a result of overdosing with heroin or prescription opioid pain medications.

Naloxone is available, without a prescription, at most Ohio pharmacies. If you cannot afford to purchase Naloxone contact your local health department to learn how to receive the medication free of charge through Project DAWN.

Project DAWN is an opioid overdose education and naloxone distribution (OEND) program. Program participants are educated on the risk factors of opioid overdose, how to recognize an opioid overdose, and how to respond to an opioid overdose by calling 911, giving rescue breaths, and administering nasal naloxone. Eligible participants are given FREE naloxone kits containing two vials of naloxone hydrochloride medication

Stop Overdoses

Find Treatment

Treatment works and people do recover. Everyone is different, and treatment should match the unique needs of the patient. Treatment options range from support groups to medication-assisted treatment in combination with traditional counseling. To learn more about finding treatment that is right for you, please visit our Learn More About Treatment and Recovery page .

To find treatment for a loved one, visit:

Addiction Services Providers

Support Groups

Narcotics Anonymous - This link provides a meeting finder for Narcotics Anonymous, a 12-step program for drug addiction recovery that includes regular attendance at group meetings.

Nar-Anon - This link offers a meeting finder for Nar-Anon. Nar-Anon helps family and friends of people living with substance use disorder or addiction.

Prevention Action Alliance GAP Network - The G.A.P. Network was created to bring information, education, advocacy opportunities, networking, and support to individuals who have lost loved ones to overdose and family engagement groups that are working to end prescription drug and opiate addiction in Ohio.

Family Supports BRSS TACS - Access resources for families and family-run organizations supporting behavioral health recovery and resilience for children, youth, and adults.