If you have found out or suspect that somebody you know and care about has become addicted to heroin there are some things that you can do to help. People who are addicted to heroin all handle it differently. There is no one size fits all when it comes to what a person struggling with addiction needs. However, there are a few basic things that you can do to make the process easier.
There is a lot of stigma associated with addiction. A person suffering from heroin addiction may get defensive by default due to the judgements that people often make. It is important to know not to take the defensiveness personally. Make sure that you are able to keep a level, calm demeanor before approaching somebody that is struggling with addiction.
Although it is important to be compassionate and calm, it is also important to have strong boundaries. Many addicts who are not ready to accept the fact that they need help often resort to manipulate to avoid treatment. It is important that you do not fall victim to manipulation tactics. Do not allow yourself to engage in behaviors that are enabling. Do not let the person struggling with heroin addiction borrow money from you. This can be difficult, as the people struggling with addiction will often lie and say that the money is for food or other necessities. This is rarely the case.
Do what you can to learn about the withdrawal process before approaching the person that you are concerned about. Ensuring that you have learned about what to expect will enable you to provide better support.
Do research about treatment options. There are many different treatment options to choose from, and being knowledgeable about them will increase your chances of being able to help your friend find ones that they feel will work for them. People that are addicted to heroin are often too unmotivated to do this kind of research themselves.
If you are able to you should transport your friend to the treatment facility. This will ensure that they actually make it into treatment. It is common for people that are addicted to heroin to get scared as treatment approaches. People that are about to go into treatment will often disappear before it is time to go. Having a set pick up time, and driving the person to the treatment facility will give them the support that they need in order to follow through with going.
Help your friend determine if they should seek inpatient treatment, or if outpatient treatment will suit their needs. Your unbiased support can assist your friend in assessing their situation honestly.
If your friend chooses to go to an outpatient treatment facility, offer to go with them to their appointments for added support if they would like. Going to treatment with your friend can often be intimidating. Having a familiar face there to help the process can make things less intimidating.