I am afraid my family member/friend has a drug problem. What should I do?

We find that people actually do well when they are allowed and encouraged to prioritize the ways that THEY want to be better. Please keep this information handy and share it with anyone who may benefit.

Know the signs and symptoms of Overdose
Person is unconscious, breathing very slowly and doesn’t respond to:

  • Yelling their name or “Narcan!”
  • Rubbing knuckles on the breastbone

If your family member / friend is showing these signs, call 911 immediately. The Emergency Department at your local hospital will be able to assist. Say “my friend is unconscious and I can’t wake her up” or “my friend isn’t breathing.” You do not need to say that any drugs have been taken until the ambulance arrives.

Administer Rescue breathing:

  1. Make sure there is nothing in the mouth
  2. Tilt head back, lift chin, pinch nose
  3. Give a breath every 5 seconds

Be sure to have some Narcan supplies in your first aid kit – inquire at your local pharmacy or pick some up at our clinics. To find a pharmacy that administers Naloxone (Narcan), here is an interactive map from the CT Department of Public Health.

There is no need to be afraid about administering this help the wrong way. The Good Samaritan rule protects those who try to help in medical emergencies. Consult this sheet for instructions. See our OD Prevention Kit.

If someone is endangering themselves or others, call 911. Your local hospital’s Emergency Department and/or first responders will be able to assist.

If they are not (or no longer) in immediate danger, you may find these resources helpful.

Please do not stop caring or feel that you shouldn’t attempt to help your loved one. Your help and support are vital and valuable resources!

Substance use disorder is a chronic disease that requires lifelong treatment. It is similar to a diabetic managing insulin levels. Be available, continue to give information and always do what you can.

Persistent cycling in and out of treatment venues is common. People get better in different ways. An individual’s process or timeline to become stable in treatment can be unpredictable.

We use an Open Access Model that has been shown through rigorous studies to be more effective than other approaches. Best of all, the gold standard – outpatient treatment – is actually not that expensive. Here is the latest research behind our approaches to treatment.

Treatment with buprenorphine or methadone works! Besides reducing or eliminating the need to use other opioids like heroin, these medications protect against opioid overdose.

Bring them to the APT Foundation! We care about your friend or family member and can help. APT accepts walk-ins at our main clinic for evaluation. No appointment or insurance are necessary.

You can also call 211 for other treatment options. If the individual is outside of the immediate area, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration shows the location of residential, outpatient, and hospital inpatient treatment programs for drug addiction and alcoholism throughout the country. This information is also accessible by calling 1-800-662-HELP.

For children and teens, the Parent Helpline at Partnership can be reached at (1-855-378-4373) for tips on prevention, intervention and treatment.

Be ready to answer their concerns about needing money, medical insurance, or an appointment. None of these are required to stop in and seek help. APT will provide treatment to all available patients regardless of insurance or ability to pay.

We offer medications that lessen the most uncomfortable symptoms of physical withdrawal. Fewer than 10% of people with an opioid use disorder can get better without such medicines. Insufficient dosage and/or premature termination of treatment is a proven factor for returning to baseline risk.

To address an immediate housing crisis, please call 2-1-1 for statewide resources and shelter referrals.

If you are seeking assistance for a Veteran, contact Columbus House’s SSVF (Supportive Services for Veteran Families) Case Manager closest to your area:

Middlesex County Case Manager 203‐401‐4400 x607
New Haven County Case Manager 203‐401‐4400 x616
New London County Case Manager 203‐401‐4400 x622

Beyond Connecticut, please go to the website for the National Alliance to End Homelessness.

APT cares and we can help! We know that it can be very challenging to be concerned about and/or love a person who is struggling with substance use. As with any chronic illness, the most important tools are information and support.

Use the tips and resources on this page and keep our number handy: 203-781-4600 and remember we’re here for walk-in evaluations five days a week (M-F, 8-11am). Offer to give them a ride to our main clinic, with no ultimatums or expiration date.

When your family member or friend is willing to get help, we welcome you to come along for support. When you arrive, we will not force them into any programs. Instead, we begin with a full health-care examination regardless of ability to pay. Our medical team is trained in primary care practice, mental health and addiction medicine, so we can offer a unique and caring blend of treatments and modalities that will be appropriate to their specific presentation.

Meanwhile, here are some things you can do today.

Be Prepared.

  • The risk of overdose is best confronted with realistic preparation and knowledge. Study the signs and symptoms so you can respond quickly if needed. View our OD Prevention Kit.
  • Narcan is simple to administer and freely available. See map to locate pharmacies in Connecticut where you can get some.
  • Needle Exchange Programs are proven to reduce the risks of contracting infectious diseases from using. Locate one in your community and provide this information to the person or persons who may need it.
  • Fentanyl test strips can further reduce harm. View information on fentanyl test strips.
  • Substance use disorders are chronic, relapsing illnesses. Don’t give up on your loved one! As with any chronic illness, the most important tools are information and support.

Reduce Social Isolation.

  • CCAR – https://addictionrecoverytraining.org
  • Al-Anon, Nar-Anon, and Codependents Anonymous are support groups modeled after 12-step recovery meetings, and many now meet online. They are anonymous and free to attend, so you can try various ones to see which, if any, are right for you.
  • Engaging in a group activity or hobby can uplift your mood. Many clubs and interest groups are now offering ways to connect with others online.
  • Regular meditation or getting out in nature can further reduce stress and keep your own immune system in shape, reducing your own risk of chronic illnesses.

Give Yourself Credit

Your family member or friend will likely express complex and conflicting emotions in response to your concern. Emotional distress is typical for those with substance use disorders. However, we recognize how difficult this can be!

You have taken an important step by letting someone who needs our services know about the APT Foundation. Unfortunately, there is no easy fix you can give them, but you can spread information and arm them with options. Give them our Resources link, tell them you’ll go with them for an evaluation, offer them a ride, with no expiration date. Be simple and matter-of-fact.

If your family member/friend receives treatment at the APT Foundation, we have family groups to assist with your mental health as you cope with the realities of substance use disorder. View our Calendar for group schedules.

APT CARES! Offer to bring your friend or family member in today.

View Locations

If they decline, send them to our resources for self management.

Resource for Self-Care



If you are at risk of overdosing, we have resources for self-care that can help you.

Learn More