HELP! I’m afraid I have a drug problem. What should I do?

First, give yourself credit for reaching out for information! Substance use disorders are chronic illnesses that have better outcomes when managed with the latest information and appropriate care. Here are some tips and resources that others have found useful in their individual decision-making.

Try them out for yourself!

Physical signs and symptoms of overdose: person is unconscious or breathing very slowly. Rub knuckles on
breastbone and yell name or “Narcan!”

If you witness these symptoms and are able to use the phone, call 911 immediately. Your local first responders
and, if necessary, the Emergency Department at your local hospital and will be able to assist. You do not need
to say that any drugs have been taken until the ambulance arrives.

Keep Naloxone (Narcan) on hand. There are pharmacies in every corner of our state with pharmacists who are certified to prescribe this essential OD prevention aid. Here is a list of these Pharmacies.

Know how to use Naloxone (Narcan) Inject into upper arm, buttock or thigh – in the muscle or as far in as a diabetic size needle will go if that is what you have. Repeat after 3-5 minutes if not waking up and call 911 if you haven’t yet. Consult this sheet on OD prevention for further instructions.

Beware of drugs mixed together – for example, mixing alcohol or benzodiazepines with narcotics can be deadly. This includes medications such as methadone and buprenorphine. These combinations are especially dangerous because they all slow your breathing and can cause it to cease when used together.

Do not use alone. Be sure to let someone know every time you’re going out, especially if your destination is an unfamiliar or in a less safe place. Better yet, choose to have someone you trust with you at all times.


Assume this about substances purchased illegally: No matter who you purchase from, they are likely not
what they claim to be.

Determine how your body handles any new substance. Only take a very small amount at first.

Use test strips for fentanyl, a substance frequently mixed with other drugs that can make them more lethal. Find out when the Yale Community Care Van will be in your neighborhood and request some free test strips, or ask for them at your local pharmacy. Follow these instructions for test strip use.

Please note that your tolerance will be lower due to not using heroin or methadone after incarceration, detox or drug-free drug treatment. Please take extra precautions at such times.


Needle exchange and syringe programs are scientifically proven to reduce the risk of contracting HIV, Hepatitis C, or other long-term infectious illness without increasing drug use. Here is a list of needle exchange and syringe programs in Connecticut.

Yale’s Community Care Van, run by Dr. Rick Altice, is an outstanding local resource. In addition, pharmacies may sell up to 10 clean needles and syringes without a prescription and are a common place to access these supplies in Connecticut. More info on access to needles and syringes in Connecticut.

If you have an opioid use disorder, consider treatment with buprenorphine or methadone. Besides reducing or eliminating the need to use other opioids like heroin, these medications may protect against opioid overdose and are known to reduce the spread of HIV and HCV.

Visit the National Harm Reduction Coalition website for more tips and information.

At the APT Foundation, “ready” means simply wanting to be at a better place than you are now. We can assist you in figuring out what that means for you, and then providing support for your own goal-setting and decision making.

The APT Foundation uses an Open Access treatment model. You can find some of the latest research describing this model and why it works by visiting our Research Page.

Here are some additional resources.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has a National Helpline 1-800-662-HELP.

The DrugPubs Research Dissemination Center provides booklets, pamphlets, fact sheets, and other informational resources on drugs, drug abuse, and treatment.

National Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Trials Network is a source to find out if you are eligible for any clinical trials to treat your substance use disorder. Or, you can visit

Visit the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism for treatment of alcohol-related problems.

Do I need money or medical insurance to receive treatment? Just come in. Treatment will be offered to all appropriate patients regardless of ability to pay.

Do I need an appointment? Walk-ins are accepted at our main clinic.

Stop into our main clinic at One Long Wharf Dr in New Haven, CT anytime (M-F, 8am-12pm) for a complete evaluation, regardless of ability to pay. No appointment is necessary. Your evaluation will be completed in the same day, and you will be offered treatment.

While we recognize YOU as the key decision-maker, you are more than welcome to bring someone else with you for support.

To explore other treatment options, we recommend you call 211 or visit the CT Harm Reduction Coalition.

If you think you are a danger to yourself or others, call 911. The Emergency Department at your local hospital will be able to assist. Provided you are not in immediate danger, visit the APT Foundation or use these resources.

During an intake evaluation at the APT Foundation, one of the things we will review is your housing status. We have relationships with community agencies to whom we can refer you for housing services.

To address an immediate housing crisis, please call 211 for statewide resources and shelter referrals. If you are a Veteran, contact Columbus House’s SSVF (Supportive Services for Veteran Families) Case Manager closest to your area:

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

By definition, individuals who have chronic substance use disorders also have compromised immune systems. In light of this, please:

Please be sure that you:

  • Eat as well as you can.
  • Exercise
  • Drink a lot of water
  • Take regular vitamin supplements

See data on the interrelationships between diet, nutrition and substance use disorder.

The community of New Haven has a wide range of excellent resources. Here are a few of them:

When you are ready to receive care, we have physicians who are highly trained in primary care as well as addiction medicine. They can grasp your unique circumstances and make a treatment plan you can live with, work with and adjust together on a regular basis. Meanwhile, please remember that the most common way to contract Hepatitis C and one of the top two ways to contract HIV is by sharing needles. Practice the harm reduction strategies listed above at all times to reduce your risk from these infectious, life-threatening diseases.

YES, you are welcome! We want you to come back as soon as possible or whenever you wish. Until then, please follow the tips above to stay alive and reduce your risk of serious harm. We care about you at all times and stages of managing your chronic illness(es).

Substance use disorders are chronic, relapsing illnesses. With some information and support, there are steps you can take to manage your substance use disorder on a daily basis, along with any other co-presenting chronic illnesses.

Stress is a relapse trigger, and social isolation can lead to problem use. When stressed and/or socially isolated, you may be particularly likely to engage in behaviors you would not normally engage in otherwise. There are many things you can do to mitigate stress and stay connected, whether or not you continue to use drugs.

Drop into a group at the APT Foundation. View group schedules.

You may also wish to check out a community-based Self Help Group

Participate in a community activity.
Even more simply put, find a group of people with whom you like to do something, and do it regularly. From choral singing to dancing, meditation or yoga on the beach, the choices are limitless! Today, many of these groups are self-managed online.

Treat trauma
Among people who have problems with substance use, there is a very high co-occurence of trauma. Memories of past traumatic events or ongoing emotional injury – this includes bullying and racial discrimination – can keep your brain in a chronically over-aroused state. It is important to create a safe space for processing trauma so that your brain gets restored in its ability to learn, plan, organize emotions and experiences, and relate in a safe, healthy way to people and things.

Please know that if any of this describes your experiences, you are NOT alone. We can help! See our Calendar for scheduled groups.

Protect your mental health
Learn to recognize your patterns, stressors and preferences, so you can practice coping skills and build healthy attachments. What bothers you may not bother someone else, and that’s ok. It’s also ok to say no to unexpected requests so that you can avoid getting stressed, panicked or overwhelmed. Over time you can become better equipped to identify and take care of life’s priorities and function better than you were before.

Celebrate your achievements
Learn more at Faces & Voices of Recovery

Untreated substance use is associated with difficulties in attaching to and caring for children. We care about you as a parent and a person, and we can help!

Accessing treatment will ease you in making an emotional connection with your child. This emotional connection is very important. Please know you can turn to us for help whenever you’re ready.

APT offers a range of parenting groups and other help with building organizational and motivational skills. A treatment plan is not only compatible with parental responsibilities, but very likely to make such responsibilities easier to deal with on a daily basis.

APT CARES about you and your family! Stop in today.

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If a friend or family member is overdosing, we have resources for you.

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