Kane County Health Department
Tools and Resources for Opioid Overdose Prevention

Guidance

Understanding A Family Member’s Drug Use

If you know someone suffering from a substance use disorder, you may be struggling with how to help.

It is not uncommon to have a family member who is misusing drugs in some way, and many are at a loss about what to do when a loved one is abusing drugs.

Here are five things you should do if someone in your family is abusing drugs:

1) Educate yourself about the disorder

2) Do not allow yourself to be abused

3) Don’t “enable” the behavior by colluding with the person dealing with the disorder in some way

4) If any essential aspect of your own life is in jeopardy, seek professional help

5) Attend to your own health and well-being

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Be Supportive

#1 Get educated. You can’t help fight an enemy you don’t understand. Learn about addiction — the signs, the treatments, the relapse triggers — and talk to your loved ones about drugs and alcohol from an early age.

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Family support for a substance use disorder is important for everyone. An intervention gets the entire family involved and sets up a treatment plan for recovery and provides family support. Within that plan, everyone is accountable for their own actions in relation to the disorder and...

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Support Communities

Resources for Recovery: Alcoholics Anonymous - Fellowship whose stated purpose is to enable its members to "stay sober and help other alcoholics achieve sobriety."; Cocaine Anonymous - Twelve-step program for people who seek recovery from drug addiction.

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Signs Of A Substance Use Disorder

ASAM's criteria, formerly known as the ASAM patient placement criteria, is the result of a collaboration that began in the 1980s to define one national set of criteria for providing outcome-oriented and results-based care in the treatment of addiction. Today the criteria have become the...

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Questions

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How effective is drug use disorder treatment?

In addition to stopping drug abuse, the goal of treatment is to return people to productive functioning in the family, workplace, and community. According to research that tracks individuals in treatment over extended periods, most people who get into and remain in treatment stop using drugs, decrease their criminal activity, and improve their occupational, social, and psychological functioning. For example, methadone treatment has been shown to increase participation in behavioral therapy and decrease both drug use and criminal behavior. However, individual treatment outcomes depend on the extent and nature of the patient’s problems, the appropriateness of treatment and related services used to address those problems, and the quality of interaction between the patient and his or her treatment providers.

Where can I find information on specific drugs?

Many misused drugs can alter a person’s thinking and judgment, leading to health risks, including addiction, drugged driving and infectious disease. Most drugs could potentially harm an unborn baby; pregnancy-related issues are listed in the chart below for drugs where there is enough scientific evidence to connect the drug use to specific negative effects.

Commonly Abused Drugs Chart

What is substance use disorder treatment?

The treatment system for substance use disorders is comprised of multiple service components, including the following:

  • Individual and group counseling
  • Inpatient and residential treatment
  • Intensive outpatient treatment
  • Partial hospital programs
  • Case or care management
  • Medication
  • Recovery support services
  • 12-Step fellowship
  • Peer supports

More information on Substance Use Disorder Treatment

How much does a treatment program cost?

Your health insurance may cover substance abuse treatment services. The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act ensures that health plan features like co-pays, deductibles, and visit limits are generally not more restrictive for mental health and substance abuse disorder benefits than they are for medical and surgical benefits. The Affordable Care Act builds on the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act and requires coverage of mental health and substance use disorder services as one of ten essential health benefits categories. Under the essential health benefits rule, individual and small group health plans are required to comply with these parity regulations.

What helps people stay in treatment?

Because successful outcomes often depend on a person’s staying in treatment long enough to reap its full benefits, strategies for keeping people in treatment are critical. Whether a patient stays in treatment depends on factors associated with both the individual and the program. Individual factors related to engagement and retention typically include motivation to change drug-using behavior; degree of support from family and friends; and, frequently,  pressure from the criminal justice system, child protection services, employers, or family. Within a treatment program, successful clinicians can establish a positive, therapeutic relationship with their patients. The clinician should ensure that a treatment plan is developed cooperatively with the person seeking treatment, that the plan is followed, and that treatment expectations are clearly understood. Medical, psychiatric, and social services should also be available.

How do I find a treatment center?