Helping You
Support Your
Loved One

Supporting someone who is struggling with opioids such as heroin is an incredibly difficult job. To help you navigate this difficult situation, we have resources, tools, and useful information below.

You can call the Helpline to talk to a specialist to get information and referrals tailored to you and your loved one. Specialists are available 24/7, and calls are free and confidential.

Helping You
Support Your
Loved One

Supporting someone who is struggling with opioids such as heroin is an incredibly difficult job. To help you navigate this difficult situation, we have resources, tools, and useful information below.

You can call the Helpline to talk to a specialist to get information and referrals tailored to you and your loved one. Specialists are available 24/7, and calls are free and confidential.

Supporting Someone Who Uses Opioids

Learn the Facts

People who are struggling to quit opioids such as heroin or fentanyl have a health condition called Opioid Use Disorder that needs proper treatment. Learn more here.

Set Boundaries

Communicate clear boundaries, and stand by them. It’s okay to tell your loved one that you don’t want drugs around you, you can’t give them money or cover for them.

Get Support for Yourself

Find a therapist who specializes in substance use counseling, and get help. Loved ones of those who use illicit opioids like fentanyl or heroin need support too.

Be Supportive

Let them know you care and will support them through this process. Be there to listen and talk to your loved one through stressful situations.

Find Resources

Encourage the person to seek support and help them find treatment options by connecting them with a local specialist in opioid use disorder. Learn more here.


Medication-Assisted Recovery

The decision to start recovery has to come from the person who is struggling to quit opioids. However, you can play an important role in showing them the different options available.

Medication-Assisted Recovery is over twice as effective as other ways to quit and the only treatment option recommended by health care professionals. It offers flexible treatment options that give more independence, such as taking a daily pill at home.

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Medication-Assisted Recovery is over twice as effective as other ways to quit and the only treatment option recommended by health care professionals. It offers flexible treatment options that give more independence, such as taking a daily pill at home.

Helping Someone Through Recovery

People can and do recover from heroin or illicit opioids use, even if they have been trying to quit for years. There are a number of ways you can support your loved one through recovery:


Make the Process Simple

Help your loved one with the logistics of recovery like booking appointments, signing up for Medicaid, and driving them to clinics if possible.

Provide a Stable and Positive Environment

If you live with your loved one, help them come home to a stable, peaceful, and positive space after treatment. This may include limiting visits from people who could negatively influence them.

Stay Positive

Use positive encouragement to remind them their recovery journey is courageous. It also helps to frame negative symptoms in a positive light, viewing them as signs their body is getting rid of toxins.

Encourage Proper Nutrition

Eating healthy and well-balanced food reduces mood swings and provides general health benefits.

Maintain a Productive Schedule

Include things like watching TV or movies, going for walks or short car rides, and reading magazines, in their daily schedule. Boredom can often negatively impact recovery.

Find Healthy Ways to Cope With Stress

Help your loved one manage stress by using simple techniques such as talking, exercise, or massage.

Understand Relapse

Recognize the early signs of relapse such as avoiding friends and family or skipping treatment sessions. Relapse is not a sign of failure. It’s often part of the overall recovery process.

Local Supporter Resources

Support groups—for supporters of adults who use heroin
or illicit opioids:

Families Anonymous / NAR-ANON / Helpline

Transportation—non-emergency transport support for your loved one:

Non-Emergency Medical Transportation

Overdose prevention training—free training to learn how to respond if your loved one overdoses:

Chicago Recovery Alliance Free Online Trainings

Overdose prevention training—free training to learn how to respond if your loved one overdoses:

Helpline

What to Know About an Overdose

Your loved one is at most risk of overdose if they have been off opioids for a while and then suddenly return to the same amount they used to take. Another factor that can put them at risk is fentanyl. This synthetic opioid is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and is being mixed into illicit drugs at increasing rates. This has caused a spike in overdoses among those who suffer from Opioid Use Disorder.

Start Today by Connecting
With a Specialist

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Speak With a Specialist

Call 833-234-6343

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Learn About Options

Text “HELP” to 833234