Unfortunately, the United States is suffering from another major drug epidemic in 2018. In previous years, entire generations of Americans were impacted by the crack cocaine and methamphetamine crises, but today opioid drugs are tearing communities and families apart from coast to coast. While opioid addiction often starts with mild prescription painkillers such as oxycodone or hydrocodone, many users will eventually graduate to harder opioids such as heroin. In part, this crisis was caused by the vast overprescription of legal prescription painkillers for many years. In fact, Americans represented 99.7% of the world’s hydrocodone consumption in recent years, according to a International Narcotics Control Board report from 2015.

When you find out that your loved one is struggling with prescription painkiller or heroin addiction, it can be difficult to understand how to help. Yet family support is critical for successful drug abuse treatment. You don’t have an easy road ahead, but here are some steps you can take to try to convince your loved one that they need drug rehabilitation.

Hold an intervention
Interventions can help families and friends make a plan for approaching a loved one about an addiction problem and prepare them for the possibility of things going wrong. However, these interventions need to be carefully planned, ideally with the assistance of a drug abuse counselor trained in substance abuse. Interventions are not meant to be an opportunity to assign blame and recriminations, but rather a show of love and support. It will also provide a united front, which can help break through the denial that keeps so many drug addicts sick.

Contact a treatment center yourself
One of the best tools you can have when confronting your loved one about drug abuse is knowledge of their treatment options. Contact drug rehabilitation centers so that you understand the options available to you. This way, when they agree to treatment, you already have the necessary information and resources they will need.

Avoid judgement
It can be hard not to pass judgment, especially if you have never struggled with drug abuse yourself. In addition, men and women with drug problems often hurt those around them before getting sober. However, judgement should be avoided as much as possible during the discussion to come, as judgement can completely shut down the conversation altogether. Instead of judging, try to ask questions to understand their struggles. This will help establish trust and provide support at the same time.

Be empathetic
As with avoiding judgement, you want to avoid getting angry with your loved one and show empathy instead. If you get angry with them, they are more likely to be resistant and frustrated. Make sure to avoid criticism, accusatory “you” language, and demonstrate your genuine concern.

It can be hard to motivate a loved one to seek help for drug abuse, and ultimately the decision is theirs, and theirs alone. However, there are simple steps you can take to help them recover from drug abuse. While the decision to enter drug rehabilitation centers is completely up to your loved one in the end, you do have the power to support them every step of the way.