How I Can Help My Loved Ones Beat Drug Abuse

Fresno, CA—In this month’s Open Workshop, youth participants gathered to discuss the impact of drug abuse among friends and family members. Here, they share ideas about how they would help a loved one prevent or beat a drug addiction.


Drugs And My Loved Ones
Dear Friend,

I can’t stand seeing you the way you are, sometimes high, sometimes drunk. Watching you screw up your life little by little knowing that its going all down the drain. Constantly worried, hoping nothing has gone wrong, waiting by the phone to hear your voice to reassure that you are not dead. I can’t take it anymore, always hoping that the next call isn’t your family telling me you’re gone.

It’s time for a change. I’m not just going to sit around anymore and watch your future and goals go down the drain. I love you way too much to continue to see that happen. Don’t you ever think about the pain you caused every time you screwed up and from your addiction? Lying for you constantly, pretending nothing is wrong when everything is.

Why can’t you just admit it? Admit that you are addicted. I wouldn’t think of you any less. At least you would start being a man about the situation instead of being an immature baby. The first step to recovery is to admit your addiction. I will be there through it all with you but you have to make that decision for yourself.
-Gracie, 16

Facing The Consequences
I would help a loved one stop using drugs by showing him/her pictures of a person who has been destroyed by drug usage. And show them the consequences that drugs could have on his/her life, and I would let that person know how I feel and that the choices s/he made affects me and those around, such as family, friends, and others. Everyone gets hurt by the ripple effect of drug abuse.
-Marcus, 18

Positive Reinforcement
If I could help someone I love with a drug addiction, I would first and foremost tell that person just how much I’m really hurt. I would then try to get that person into a program that most likely will help him/her. I would keep that person there for a while, at least until s/he starts showing a lot of improvement. I would be there to support that person the whole way to show that I care and so the person doesn’t feel alone. After that person goes through the whole program, I would surround him/her with family and friends so s/he can feel loved. I’ll try my hardest to keep him/her busy but also keep in mind the fight to stay away from drugs.
-Patrice, 18

My Brother
Drugs are all over the place, all around us. When I think about preventing people from doing drugs, I think of my younger brother. He is in high school and I know that he has been offered drugs plenty of times, he has even tried smoking weed. I think the only way I can try to prevent him from smoking it again is by talking to him about it. I would get to the root of the why he would want to smoke, once we find out why people do it, it will be easier (slightly) to prevent or stop him.

My brother was smoking weed because the people he hung around smoked it. Like a lot of teens, he gave into peer pressure. If we inform people about the detrimental impacts of doing drugs and build up their self-worth and esteem, they probably won’t give in to peer pressure.

People are going to do what they want. That choice is theirs. We have to warn them about how their choices will affect them in the future. I also think that if they recognize that it doesn’t just affect them but every one around them, especially family, it would make a difference in their choice. Another thing I would do is let my brother meet someone who has done drugs and recovered from them and let that person tell his/her testimony. I believe all these things will help a person not do drugs or stop doing drugs.
-Laqusha, 21

Talking It Out
I can prevent my loved ones from using drugs can by having serious in depth conversations and persuading them that life is better without drugs. I can tell them the effects that drugs can have on their body, life and others around. If I find any illegal drugs still after the discussions, I will have to confront that person in a gentle yet serious manner. If that doesn’t work, then rehab will be my last option.
-Peter, 16

No Easy Way
I’m not sure how to stop loved ones from using drugs. I could tell them all the negative things and dangers, but I’m not going to always be there and keep them in check. I can’t always be with them and so I won’t know if they’re going to do drugs. I think that if anyone, especially my loved ones, were abusing drugs, I might as well send them off to jail, prison, rehab, boot camp, or whatever will help them stop. If they don’t stop and push me to that point, I’m sure I would do that. I would try my best to stop them from getting the drugs.
-Angelina, 16

Going Through A Process
If I had family members who were doing drugs and needed help, I would recommend them to rehab. While going through the rehab process, I would try to help them stabilize their lives by helping them find a place to live and by helping them find a job to earn some income. But they have to be totally committed to becoming a better person. They have to want to get out of the mess they got themselves in to. Then can I can refer them to positive role models and positive friends who can help and inspire them to do better. When I see that they actually want to make progress, then I would let them go and allow them to become that which they’ve set out to be.
-Jesse, 17

A Grandmother’s Death
I think it’s important for family and friends to know how much you care about them. People can turn to drugs because they feel lonely or unloved. You can also take time to listen to their problems and educate them on the risks of using drugs.

It happened before I was born, but my grandmother (my mom’s mother) was a heroin addict. It was never made clear to me how long she was an addict, but when she was on the drug, she did awful things. She would steal things and neglect her kids, all for the sake of having heroin. Because of the drug, my grandmother went into cardiac arrest and died at the age of 39. My mother was only 19 years old at the time. My mother told me that her mom wanted to have grandchildren. Now, my brother and I are here, but she didn’t live long enough to see us. I wonder what kind of person I would be if she were still alive today. And if she knew she had grandchildren, would that have been enough of a reason for her to stop?
-Jaleesa, 20

The kNOw Youth Media
The kNOw works to support and equip young people with the journalism and advocacy skills they need to tell their stories and the stories of their communities.

In 2006, over 25 youth began participating in weekly after-school writing workshops where they congregated in the hallway of a two-story building in West Fresno and learned the essentials of creating media and telling their stories. The group evolved over the next five years and is now proudly recognized as The kNOw Youth Media.

Through our program, we create opportunities for our youth participants, who in turn create long-term positive change in their communities. Our approach weaves youth development and youth media innovation to produce our biannual youth publication, multimedia projects, and community forums.

The kNOw began as a project of New America Media, which was the country’s first and largest national collaboration and advocate of 2000 ethnic news organizations. In 2018 The kNOw became a project of Youth Leadership Institute.

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