So what can you do? How can you help a heroin addict? How to help a heroin addict is a difficult question, because there is very little you can do.

Heroin is a drug that is wreaking havoc on cities and towns around the United States. What often begins as prescription pain pill abuse often turns to the use of heroin.

Heroin is one of the most addictive drugs available today. Despite its addictive qualities and high overdose risk, many people continue to use this opioid drug. For some people, the destruction of heroin becomes apparent very quickly, while it can take longer for others. There are even people who are addicted to heroin that can maintain a job while they use the drug, but this doesn’t often last for long.

When you have a family member who is addicted to heroin, you tend to feel the impacts just as much if not more so than the person using the drug. Addiction is often called a family disease because of the ripple effects it has on everyone around the person who is addicted.

So what can you do? Heroin addiction can cause the person who is addicted to lash out against you and place blame on you. It can also lead to lying, stealing and risky behaviors.

While you can’t cure an addiction to heroin, you can help someone who is addicted to heroin by taking action with specific steps and support:


One of the best ways to empower yourself is by learning as much as you can about heroin and addiction itself. It will help you recognize the signs that may be occurring around you and red flags you need to watch for. It can also help you understand that addiction is a disease of the brain, so you shouldn’t take the behaviors and words of a someone who is addicted to heroin personally, as tough as that can be.

Avoid Enabling

Enabling is one of the most common behaviors that loved ones of people addicted to substances engage in. When you enable a person addicted to heroin, you’re giving that person resources, whether financial, emotional or otherwise, that allow them to continue their addiction. An example of enabling a heroin addiction would include allowing access to financial accounts. The person addicted to heroin can continue to purchase drugs as a result.

Another way people often enable rather than help a person addicted to heroin is by covering for them or lying to help prevent people from discovering what’s really happening.

It’s important that when you’re looking at how to help someone who is addicted to heroin, you learn to say no, set boundaries and remain firm.

It is possible to provide support without enabling. This means you can love someone who is addicted to heroin without providing them a shield from the negative consequences of their actions. You can find more healthy ways to support them, such as helping them find a treatment program or going to therapy sessions with them.

Create a Support System

Heroin is a dangerous drug, and it’s nearly impossible to try and deal with someone who is addicted to heroin on your own. You instead should work on building a support system. This can include enlisting help from other family members or participating in a support group for families of people living with heroin addiction. There are many support group options that will provide you both with emotional comfort and strength.

You can also speak with a therapist who has experience dealing with addiction.

If other members of your family don’t already know, you need to make them aware. One of the worst things you can do for someone with a heroin use disorder is to try to conceal their addiction, as it often makes the problem worse.

Provide Opportunities for Treatment

When you’re searching for how to help someone who is addicted to heroin, consider how you can start moving them in the direction of positive change. You can’t “fix” the person or force them to change, but you can set boundaries that show them you won’t continue to contribute to their heroin addiction and that you are willing to help them find an appropriate treatment program. You can research options, look at how to cover the costs and coordinate care before holding an intervention.

You may even be able to provide financial or emotional help for a treatment program, which would be an example of positive support.

Ultimately, while there are few things you can do to help someone who is addicted to heroin. A good first step is to take care of yourself and find a support network that will allow you to remain strong, even against manipulation. Start learning what you can about the disease of addiction and heroin use, and then research treatment options. You should also learn to set clear, healthy boundaries and be firm in your resolve to stick to them.

To find more resources for someone you love, contact The Recovery Village today. With treatment facilities across the country, a representative can help you find a program to fit you and your loved one’s needs.

a woman is standing with her arms crossed.
Editor – Megan Hull
Megan Hull is a content specialist who edits, writes and ideates content to help people find recovery. Read more
Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.