By “pills,” TeenHealthFX is assuming you are talking about the abuse of prescription medication. If your cousin is abusing prescription medicine, FX suggests that you talk to him about your concerns. Start by letting him know how concerned you are in terms of the physical and emotional harm his substance abuse will continue to do, as well as the legal implications if his P.O. finds out he is abusing prescription medication. Tell him how much you care about him and want the best for him, and let him know that is why you are expressing your concerns. Provide him with some information about prescription drug abuse and over the counter and prescription drugs so that he is well-educated as to how taking prescription pills recreationally can affect him. Encourage him to seek professional help from medical and mental health professionals with experience in dealing with substance abuse issues – you can give him the following resources:
If you live in northern New Jersey and need help finding a therapist you can call the Access Center from Atlantic Behavioral Health at 888-247-1400. Outside of this area you can log onto the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website for referrals in your area. You can also contact your insurance company to get a list of in-network mental health providers or check with your school social worker or psychologist to get a list of referrals in your area.
If there is an adult you could speak to who could intervene on your cousin’s behalf, consider that as well. His parents, your parents, or an extended family member – anyone who you think would have some influence over him or could even help to cut off his supply of prescription drugs (for example, if he is taking them from family members, let family members know to keep their pills away from him).
When dealing with substance abusers, it is important to remember that you cannot control their behaviors and choices. You can share your concerns, inform trusted adults about what is going on, and decide how you want to proceed with the relationship if the person continues to use – but in the end you do not have power over their actions. Consider our response to What Do I Do If Friend Won’t Stop Smoking Pot?
FX can appreciate your concern as it is very scary to watch all of the destruction that can be associated with a friend or loved one who is abusing substances. In addition to sharing your feelings with your cousin and encouraging him to get help, if you find that you are struggling in how to effectively deal with this situation and your own feelings about it, make sure that you get the guidance and support that you need from a parent, extended family member, or school counselor, for example.