How to help an addicted friend or relative

Helping someone with an addiction

Do you have a friend or a family member that is struggling with addiction? Is it starting to affect you and the family? Do you feel like all hope is lost?

Addiction tears people’s lives apart. Seeing someone you love in pain is difficult.

Often, suffers from addiction and alcohol abuse suffer from co-occurring issues that drive them to drink and use in the first place.

That’s why treatment is so essential because it addresses these issues and helps your loved rebuild their life.

Expect difficulties

In your mind, it might be difficult for you to understand why someone would choose to drink and using drugs over you.

But there are many reasons why it is difficult to help someone you care about, this can be because…

  • They deny they have a problem
  • Addicts may not wish to change their behaviour
  • They might be scared of the consequences
  • Your loved one might be feeling embarrassed and might find it difficult to discuss their addiction
  • It’s a way of dealing with other problems in life, like mental illnesses and stresses

What you can do

How you act can affect and change the whole scenario. Overreacting can drive someone to drink or use more. The advice is to be understanding and come from a place of emotion, not rationality.

Try and be honest, focus on building trust and respect their privacy and issues.

You mustn’t threaten, criticize or expect change immediately.

Dig deeper:

Getting the help you need

Addiction help is available to anyone suffering from alcohol addiction or drug abuse. You can choose to carry out the treatment as an inpatient or an outpatient, through the hospital or privately. Whatever the right decision is for you, we advise that you make it, before it’s too late.

External Resources

Drug & Alcohol Misuse Services

Drug misuse

Inclusion provided by Drug and Alcohol Action Teams provides drug treatment services for local residents. Inclusion offer services to those affected by their own or someone else’s drug misuse:

  • Open access services including advice, information, harm reduction advice and support.
  • Other services are available following an assessment such as counselling

The drug treatment services are free and confidential.

Alcohol misuse

Addaction provides alcohol treatment services for local residents.

Local people seeking help will be welcomed and made to feel safe. The service offers confidential and free counselling, support and advice to individuals, principally for alcohol problems but also for a combination of alcohol and drug problems. Services offered include:

  • Assessment
  • Advice and information
  • One-to-one counselling
  • Onward referral to other agencies
  • Referral to specialist health services

The alcohol treatment services are free and confidential. See the contacts below to find a local office near you.

Are you worried about someone?

Are you worried about someone?

Are you worried that someone you know is using drugs or drinking more alcohol than is good for them? We know that this can be very difficult to cope with.

You can’t be responsible for others but one of the most important things you can do for people who are using drugs is to help them get into drug treatment. As well as helping your friend or relative, you might need some help and support yourself. There are a number of services in the county that can offer advice and information. Some also offer a dedicated programme for relatives, partners and carers, for example counselling and complementary therapies.

Drug and Alcohol Action Team

The Drug and Alcohol Action Team (DAAT) works closely with all community safety partnerships to tackle drug and alcohol related crime and disorder and anti-social behaviour within their local communities.The DAAT’s aims are:

  • protecting communities through robust enforcement to tackle drug supply, drug-related crime and anti-social behaviour
  • preventing harm to children, young people and families affected by drug misuse
  • delivering new approaches to drug treatment and social re-integration
  • public information campaigns, communications and community engagement

Useful contacts

Drug and Alcohol Action Team

Phone: 0800 77 66 00


Alcohol and drug use doesn’t just affect the person who’s using them: it can have a major impact on their families and friends.

Want to talk about your drinking? Call Drinkaware


Drinkaware provides information and simple self-help strategies.

You can access all their helpful information on their website.


Alternatively, if you are concerned about your drinking, or that of someone close to you, you can call Drinkline on 0800 917 8282 for free, confidential advice.

Promote a Smoke and Drug free Workplace

Promote a Smoke and Drug free Workplace

Promoting smoking cessation within workplace settings is good for business and benefits employers, employees and customers.

Offering health education and stop smoking support in the workplace is a key component of the public health strategy to improve health in workplace settings.

We can offer support in a number of ways, all of which are free of charge to the employer. These include:

  • Provision of in house stop smoking programmes by a specialist practitioner, tailored to suit individual workplace requirements.
  • Training and support for occupational health staff and other key individuals to offer brief intervention for smokers or to establish and deliver their own in-house stop smoking programmes.
  • Attendance by a stop smoking specialist practitioner at workplace health promotion events.
  • Provision of free leaflets, posters and resources to raise awareness of local stop smoking services for employees.

Stay Safe – Beware of Illegal Tobacco, Drugs and Alcohol

Illicit tobacco

Not all cigarettes are sold legally in the UK. There are big profits to be made by criminal and other organisations who bring cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco into the country by a variety of hidden means to avoid the high tax. This allows them to sell the tobacco very cheaply from places such as domestic homes, public houses, car boot sales and workplaces. These illegal ( illicit) cigarettes fall in to one of the following groups;

  • Counterfeit
  • These are fake cigarettes packed to make them look like the genuine brand of cigarette or hand rolled tobacco pouch they are copying. They can be difficult to spot from the genuine packets but may have poor print quality or different size lettering or have health warnings and pictures missing.
  • Smuggled
  • These are brands of cigarettes not available in shops in the UK that are made very cheaply in countries in Eastern Europe and elsewhere and smuggled in through ports and airports. Typical brands include Jin Ling, L&M, Marble , Raquel, Richman and Bon.
  • Bootlegged
  • These are popular UK brands of cigarettes that are bought abroad from a country of low taxation and brought into the country hidden in baggage or as duty frees and sold . These can usually be recognised by foreign health warnings, no pictorial messages and no UK DUTY PAID mark.

How big is the problem?

Since 2000, 4 billion cigarettes and 1000 tonnes of hand rolled tobacco being brought in to the UK illegally has been seized by HM Revenue and Customs. 370 criminal gangs have been caught and over 2000 people prosecuted.

Despite all of the efforts at UK borders to keep out illicit tobacco, it is known that almost 1 in 7 cigarettes smoked in the UK this year will have been brought into the country and sold illegally.

Why is it such an issue?

Illicit tobacco sellers don’t care who they sell to as their only interest is making money – they often target young people who are attracted by the cheap price and ready availability. It therefore encourages many young people to start smoking and help those who have started to smoke more. Illicit tobacco sellers usually target poor and disadvantaged communities where they know people have more difficulty in affording to buy cigarettes from genuine retail outlets.

Illicit tobacco is often linked to organised crime and many of the traders also deal in drugs, alcohol and money laundering.

It puts retail shops out of business as they can’t compete with the cheaper prices of illicit tobacco. On average, a packet of 20 cigarettes bought in a shop in the UK is between £5.50 and £6.50 whereas a packet of 20 illicit cigarettes will cost between £2.50 and £3.50.

Is illicit tobacco more harmful to health?

Smoking of any tobacco whether genuine or counterfeit is harmful to health. Illicit cigarettes are however often produced using poorer quality tobacco and in factories with poor hygiene which makes them more likely to be contaminated with foreign materials.

How would I recognise illegal tobacco?

Genuine, legal packets of cigarettes or hand rolled tobacco should have the following:

  • There should be wording that says in capital letters UK DUTY PAID on the packs
  • On the front of the packet, there should be a message that says either: “Smoking seriously harms you and others around you” or “Smoking kills”
  • On the back of the packet, there should be a pictorial health warning.
  • All wording on the packet should be in English

What should I do if I want to report someone selling illegal cigarettes?

If you have any information or want some advice on illegal tobacco, please contact North East Lincolnshire Council Trading Standards on 01472 324807 or text ‘CIGS’ to 82055.

Alternatively, you can ring Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111 or you can complete an anonymous online form on the Crime Stoppers website – click here.

Tobacco Control – how to help people quit for good

Swapping cigarettes for their electronic alternatives

Smoking can be incredibly addictive and you might have found yourself hooked almost as soon as you picked up your first cigarette. The trouble is, over time, traditional cigarettes can really take their toll on your health.

Trying to kick the habit altogether can prove too difficult for many people, but there is an alternative. E-cigarette products might be just what you’re after to quit.

It is safer

You can choose between nicotine containing and nicotine free cartridges. While nicotine is addictive, it does not itself cause cancer. Meanwhile, the ‘smoke’ released from these items is much safer to people around you than the smoke from tobacco cigarettes. Find out what nicotine liquids are available.

Take a look at this smoking challenge to help you quit for good.

Quit smoking for good with e-cigarettes

Tobacco Control

The Smokefree Alliance have developed a new draft Tobacco Control Strategy for 2019.

The Plan focuses on 4 key areas:

  • Reducing the number of young people take up smoking

Very few 12 and 13 year olds smoke (ie only about 1 in 100) but smoking rates increase significantly after this age such that one in four 16 year old girls and one in seven 16 year old boys smoke.

Three quarters of young people who smoke live with at least one regular smoker in their household.

Many young people live within families where smoking has been the norm for many generations. School based interventions are having some impact, but a comprehensive approach is required to de-normalise smoking, change beliefs and promote the positive benefits of not smoking. Dangers of smoking.

  • Getting more people to successfully quit smoking

Two out of every three smokers say that they want to quit and three quarters of them will have tried to stop at some time. Success Stories.

Most people need support to make a successful quit attempt and they also need Smoking Cessation Services to be accessible at a time and place to suit them.

Everyone is different in the type and amount of support they require to quit and our services have become increasingly flexible to accommodate varying needs.

The Smokefree Regulations introduced in July 2007 have led to a huge reduction in the exposure to second hand smoke in pubs, clubs, cafes, shops, offices and other workplaces.

Many children are still however exposed to second hand smoke in the home, in cars and in other areas such as playgrounds. More can be done to encourage people to make these environments smoke free.

An additional benefit of not smoking in the home would be to reduce house fires as cigarettes are the greatest cause of house fires in England being responsible for over 100 deaths and 1000 injuries per year.

  • Reducing the availability and demand for illicit tobacco

The ready supply of cheap smuggled or counterfeit cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco in the area makes it easier for young people to take up smoking and smoke more often.

Its widespread availability in poorer areas encourages adults to smoke more and be less likely to quit. Illicit tobacco is also associated with crime and has a damaging effect on genuine local retailers.

Are you addicted?

Addiction Quiz

If you have already decided to quit, or just thinking about it, complete this short questionnaire to help work out your level of addiction.

Q1. Which of the following best describes you?

A contented smoker
A smoker who would like to stop
A social smoker i.e. very infrequently
A non-smoker

Q2. How many cigarettes do you smoke each day?

More than 20?
Between 11 and 20?
Between 1 and 10?

Q3. After you wake, when do you smoke your first cigarette?

Within five minutes?
Within half an hour?
Within an hour?
I don’t

Q4. Do you find it difficult not to smoke in places like cinemas, buses or restaurants?

Yes, I do
Sometimes I do
Not at all

Q5. If you are ill in bed, would you still smoke?

Yes, just as normal
Yes, but not as much as normal

Take the Stoptober challenge and feel great!

The Stoptober campaign challenges smokers to stop for 28 days during the month of October.

Stopping smoking for 28 days means you’re five times more likely to stop for good.


If you can stop for 28 days or longer you will begin to experience financial, physical and health benefits.


Your chances of success will be much higher with the help of your local stop smoking service, in fact

you are up to four times more likely to stop smoking with your local stop smoking service than

by ‘going it alone’.


We have stop smoking programmes available from a range of venues across the UK, Monday to Friday, daytime and evenings.


For details or to book onto a local programme contact the service on:

Information about drugs

Information about drugs

For a quick introduction to some of the most commonly used drugs (plus some of the drugs that cause the most worry), the risks of taking them, their legal status and their effects visit the A – Z of drugs on the FRANK website.

The A – Z list of substances explains appearance and use, effects, chances of getting hooked, health risks and UK law.

Useful contacts

Phone: 0800 77 66 00

It might be helpful to find out a bit more about drugs and their effects.