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How to support people in your life who are impacted by addiction


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People with addiction deserve compassion and support. So do their families. Make the connection. Have the conversation. Stop the stigma.

Sometimes, people experiencing addiction may feel like everything is on them – staying safer, reaching out, getting help. Although it may feel hard to know how to support people in your life who are being impacted by addiction, connecting in compassionate ways can make a real difference.

“I felt frustrated because I didn’t know how to help my son with his addiction. Things were hard between us until I remembered he is more than his condition. He’s my son. He deserves love and support – while we figure this out together.”

Ways you can support the people in your life impacted by addiction:

  • Make the connection: This can look different for every person or family. This might be telling someone you care, or letting them know you’re there if they want to talk.
  • Come from a place of compassion: The “tough love” approach can cause people to feel shame or blamed. Approaching connection with others using kindness and compassion goes a long way.
  • Have the conversation: Conversations that are free of blame or judgement let others know you care. Reaching out to check in and talk helps them know they’re not alone.
  • Learn about substance use and addiction: Educating yourself about addiction is empowering both for you and whoever you’re connecting with. It can help you understand their journey.
  • Be kind to yourself: Finding ways to support someone isn’t always easy, and taking care of yourself helps you be able to show up for others. Creating healthy boundaries can be one way to practice self-care.

To learn more about ways to be there for your loved ones or friends, visit StopOverdoseBC.ca or watch the Stop the Stigma video: