Last updated: 04/1/2019
Author: Addictions.com Medical Review
Reading Time: 3 minutes
Heroin addiction can be devastating to a person’s entire life and the lives of their loved ones. Because of this, it can be difficult to know what to say in order to encourage someone you love to get the help they need and to stop abusing this dangerous substance. Below are 5 things you should never say to your brother if he is a heroin addict.
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1. “It Could Be Worse…”
Heroin addiction is incredibly dangerous. A person who abuses the drug consistently will only do so more and more as a result of tolerance, their drug use can often lead to overdose, respiratory depression, and other harmful or even deadly side effects.
Even if your brother seems to have a handle on his abuse, he still needs professional treatment. The University of Pennsylvania Health System states that “minimizing the situation” or saying it could be worse is a type of enabling, and this will not help motivate your loved one find the assistance he needs.
2. “Let’s Wean You off of the Heroin…”
If you begin trying to wean your brother off heroin yourself, a number of dangerous results may occur. First of all, he could experience a deadly overdose during any use of the drug, and if you attempt to use prescription opioids to do so, you are committing a very dangerous––and illegal––act by abusing prescription meds. You brother will need professional detox as well as addiction treatment in order to recover fully and safely from heroin addiction.
3. “You’re on Your Own…”
Your brother will need your help now more than ever. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Family and friends can play critical roles in motivating individuals with drug problems to enter and stay in treatment.” Without this motivation from a close relative, your brother will struggle much more to seek and stay in treatment. It is important to always give your loved one your support during their search for treatment.
4. “Find the Cheapest Treatment Option…”
Addiction rehab is a type of healthcare, and it isn’t advisable that you seek the cheapest type available. Instead, make a budget with your brother; call his insurance company; and find out what portion of his care will be covered, as well as what portion he can afford.
5. “You Should Stop Cold Turkey…”
Telling someone to stop taking an illicit opioid––especially heroin–– cold turkey is extremely dangerous. It will make him likely to relapse because of the severe, flu-like symptoms and the intense muscle and bone pain experienced by those attempting to quit without medication and professional care.
In addition, even if he does make it through withdrawal without relapsing, he may afterward if he does not go on to attend professional addiction treatment.