Starting a conversation about someone else’s personal life can be hard.

You don’t always have to confront difficult topics head on.

It’s difficult to talk in the middle of a crisis, so you may want to choose a time when things are a little more settled. The best conversations happen when both people are ready to listen to each other at the same time.

The person you are worried about may already have a good idea of how you feel about drugs and alcohol, even if you hardly ever talk about them. Ideas of right and wrong come across through what you say and do – how you feel about work, what you do for fun and how you get on with friends and family.

If you decide that you want to talk to your friend about his or her drug or alcohol use, follow these simple steps:

  • Always have the conversation when your friend is not influenced by drugs or alcohol.
  • Work out what you want to say in advance.
  • Write an email or note if you feel uncomfortable talking face-to-face.
  • Try and use the correct tone – how you say something is as important as what you say. A supportive, caring tone usually works best. Be assertive, not aggressive.
  • Back up your case – your friend may think you’re just being critical, so try to give examples of how you feel when you see him or her use drugs. For example, “You are my best friend but I feel like you’re a different person when you’re high.”
  • If they become angry, suggest that you talk about it at another time, or that they seek help from a trusted source like Know the Score.

Worried about your child?

What you can do if you’re concerned about children or teenagers and drugs.

Worried about someone?

Helping a friend or loved one with their drug abuse often starts with a conversation.