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Fact Sheet

Ways to reduce drug use


Options for reducing drug use

Managing your drug use may be a big step. If you reduce your drug use you may still crave them for sometime after.

Try not to be too hard on yourself if you don’t reach your immediate goal. Having to try several times may be part of reducing your use and it is important you keep trying. It may be helpful to have someone you can talk to. This may be a friend, a family member or a counselor. Check out the Get Help section of the website for more information about what counseling professionals do and how they can help.

The ways in which people manage their drug use may depend on:

  • What it is they are trying to stop or cut down e.g. reducing smoking will be different to reducing heroin use;
  • How regularly they are using the drug;
  • For how long they have used the drug;
  • What other things are happening in their life;
  • What resources are available to them.

Sometimes a range of options may be used before you find the right one.

Managing your drug use may include speaking to a professional. It is a good idea to talk to a doctor or drug and alcohol counselor about the best way to manage your drug use as the reduction of some drugs may cause medical complications.

Some suggestions for helping to manage your drug use may include:

Make it difficult to access drugs. For example if you are trying to stop smoking, throw out all your smokes, lighters and ashtrays so they are not tempting you.

Have things you can do to distract yourself when you feel like taking the drug. Some ideas are hanging out with friends who are not taking the drug, going for a run or walk, listening to music.

If possible get support from your family and friends. They may be more supportive of you if they know that you are trying to reduce its use.

Talking to someone - talking to someone you trust may be helpful in reducing your drug intake. This person may be a friend, family member or youth worker.

Counseling - It may be helpful for you to talk to a counselor. Some counselors specialize in drug and alcohol treatment. A good counselor can help you to work out how best to manage your drug use. Counseling can either be done in a group or individually. Check out the Get Help section to find out more about what counselors do. Your local doctor, hospital, community health center or youth worker should also be able to help you find information about getting help.

Self help - this is another form of treatment for people who have drug dependencies. Self help groups are made up of those people who are affected by a particular drug problem. Instead of a group being run by a professional it is run by the members of the group. Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are examples of self help groups. For more information it may be helpful to talk with your local doctor or counselor.

Medical Treatment - reducing your drug intake may be done with the assistance of other drugs. The function of these drugs depends on what they are replacing. Methadone, Naltrexone and Buprenolphine are drugs used to help reduce heroin intake. Medical treatment is often done along with counseling. For more information about medical treatments you may want to talk to your local doctor or counselor.

For more information

For more information on drugs, their effects on the body, and stories about teens who turned their lives around, check out the National Institute of Drug Abuse website for teens.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration treatment facility locator provides information about treatment facilities across the country.

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