You might recall the epidemic that America just experienced with painkillers and heroin. Hundreds of thousands of lives were lost to these drugs, causing quite a stir in the media and in the families that lost someone dear to them. What was mind blowing about this epidemic was that those who lost their lives were generally good people. They weren’t gang members or thieves. These were parents, siblings, peers at work, and next door neighbors. They were average people who were prescribed pain medication, which slowly got out of hand and led to a serious problem.

If you know someone who has lost a loved one to drugs, there are ways that you can provide your support. There are ways that you can lend a hand. Below are some tips for being there for your friend:

Be Available – One of the greatest ways you can send the message you care is by simply being around. Sometimes, there are no words that can describe the pain of losing someone, and there’s a good chance that your friend may not want to talk about it. However, your presence and availability is a gentle way to let someone know you care. You can do this by either being physically present with a visit from time to time. You might also send a card or flowers. This can be comforting for someone who is grieving the death of a loved one.

Listen – When your friend is ready to talk, listen to what they have to say. In fact, it’s better to do more listening than talking at first. Give your friend time to share their feelings and thoughts. Let them explore by talking aloud the many experiences they are likely going through. Give your full attention to your friend and allow them to speak without interruption.

Be Compassionate – It’s hard to really know what someone else is going through. However, you might be familiar with the feelings of loss, grief, sadness, or anger. Because those feelings are universal, you might be able to use your compassionate and loving heart to comfort your friend.

Lend a Hand – Sometimes, when someone is grieving, they may not want to cook, clean, or do other daily living chores. Another way to show your support is to get groceries for your friend, prepare a meal, or take care of some errands for them.

Call for Help – Grieving is a very challenging process. It can even make worse a depression that someone might already be experiencing. If you notice that your friend is slipping into a depression or simply unable to manage the grief, call a mental health provider in your community.

Today there are fewer people who are losing their lives to the opiate epidemic. Nonetheless, thousands of men and women lose their lives to alcohol and recreational drugs every day. If not by overdose, then drug-related accidents can also take someone’s life. If you have a family member or friend who has lost someone dear to them, the above tips are ways you can provide your support.

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