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How Far Should I Let Drug Use Go Before I Tell Friends or Family?


How far should I let drug use go before I tell friends or family?

Steve Answers:

My first question is: your drug use, or someone else's? I'm guessing you're referring to someone else. Most drug users either try to keep their problem a secret, or they share it only with other users or potential users.

So you're probably faced with a friendship crisis-do you break a friend's trust and tell someone else, or do you keep your friend's drug use a secret and let your friend self-destruct?

People often become defensive when someone tries to intervene, so you should ask yourself: How open would my friend be to help? Is my friend experimenting with drugs, or hooked on them? Is my friend in denial about drug use?

Even if your friend is experimenting with drugs or using them "casually," that use can easily become an addiction. Furthermore, even "casual use" can be fatal. So I'm glad you're concerned for your friend.

Here's my advice. The sooner you share your concern with someone who can help, the greater your chances for saving your friend. Consider these options:

1. Talk to your friend first. Don't come with a "holier than thou" attitude. Show concern, and offer support. Try probing into the reason(s) your friend uses drugs. Remember, ignoring the problem isn't what a true friend would do, so don't let your friend's defensiveness stop you. Even God sometimes uses a "tough love" approach with us because He cares. (See Revelation 3:19, 20 and Hebrews 12:6-11.)

2. Talk to your friend's parent(s). The relationship between you and your friend's parent(s) will influence how you'll feel about this option. You'll also want to consider whether their response will be to help, react, dismiss, or deny the problem.

3. Talk to an adult who could help. Sometimes a pastor, teacher, youth leader, school counselor, physician, or other adult you respect can help you decide what steps to take.

4. Talk to God. Pour out your heart to the Almighty. Unload your concern on Him, then listen for His answer. You might ask others to pray for you without giving specifics.

When it comes to drug use, the reason(s) a person uses drugs needs to be addressed too. Are they bored? trying something risky? rebelling?

Drugs provide a poor substitute for the "abundant life" God offers us in John 10:10. They remove a person from dealing with reality. But after the artificial "high," they still have to face reality-and are less equipped to do so. As Paul said: "Do not get drunk with wine. . . . Instead, be filled with the Spirit" (Ephesians 5:18).

The sooner you let friends or family know about drug use, the better.

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