Opiate addiction plagues the United States. This issue is growing so fast organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and the White House are calling it an epidemic. With over 2 million people already addicted to opiates and many more who do not report their addiction, it is easy to see why being able to both identify opiate addiction and find treatment is so important. Even though you might not have a problem with opiate addiction, you probably know someone who does. It is difficult to watch someone who is suffering through addiction. Here are some ways that you can help.
Make Sure that They Want your Help
Unfortunately, some people will not want your help or your advice. Before you confront someone about their opiate addiction, make sure they are actually addicted. Study the signs of addiction, look for paraphernalia, or other signs that an addiction is present. Although you might feel that it is your right to confront them, put yourself into their shoes. Make sure that they want your help or your advice before offering it, particularly if they are already in opiate addiction treatment. Sometimes help can be met by negative feelings and possibly aggression when a person is already in recovery.
Do your Research
Wanting to help is all well and good but you will first need to know how you can help. In some cases, your support and presence may be enough. In most cases, having clear answers and knowing how to help is preferable. Chances are you have never dealt with opiate addiction yourself, so it is a good idea to do some research about what the other person is going though. If you do not know the basics, there is no way to help. You should at least know the symptoms of withdrawal, the different types of treatment for opiate abuse, and some of the general feelings and problems the addict might be experiencing.
Find Out What the Person Needs
Finding out what someone needs while they are in treatment or what they need to help get them into treatment is essential. This involves talking to the person. Do not be afraid of asking the person what they might need or want. Surprisingly some needs are very simple. You could offer to help out with kids or older family members or you could bring them reading material or other necessities if they are in inpatient treatment. Many times it is the little things that you do that help the most.
Be Supportive and Nonjudgmental
The best thing that you can do to help someone with their opiate addiction is to be supportive of them. Support can come in many forms including encouraging words or letting them know that you are there for them.
Being nonjudgmental is also extremely important. No one wants to be an opiate addict. No one chooses it. Judging someone based off their addiction is not only a mistake, it can be very hurtful. Sometimes just kind words and a lack of judgment can make someone who is suffering from an opiate addiction feel just bit better.