Healthy Living

Drug Misuse: Conversation Starters

 A patient and health care provider sit and talk

It can be hard to talk to someone you love about a drug problem. But having a conversation about getting help can make a big difference. Use these tips to get started.

Be honest about how you feel.

You can say:

  • “You’re very important to me.”
  • “I’m worried about your drug use. It puts you at risk for an overdose, which can be very dangerous.”
  • “Your drug misuse is affecting our relationship.”

Remind them things can get better.

You can say:

  • “Millions of people struggle with drug addiction — it’s nothing to be ashamed of. You're not alone.”
  • “Dealing with drug addiction is hard, but it’s possible. Many people have stopped using drugs, and you can be one of them.”
  • “Drug addiction is an illness, and you can get treatment for it.”
  • “There are different ways to treat drug addiction, including medicine, talk therapy, or both.”

Offer to help.

You can say:

  • “To get treatment for drug addiction, you can make an appointment with your doctor. Or I can help you find someone else to talk to, like a therapist or social worker.”
  • “There are support groups for people with drug addiction — I can help you find one.”
  •  “I’m here for you. You can call or text me at any time if you need support — or if you just want to talk.”

Content last updated August 17, 2023

Reviewer Information

This information on drug misuse is adapted from material from the United States Preventive Services Task Force and the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Reviewed by:

Emily B. Einstein, PhD
Chief, Science Policy Branch
Office of Science Policy and Communications
National Institute on Drug Abuse

For more information about drug misuse, check out: