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How to Help a Drug User in the Family?

17 February, 2023
Q As-Salaamu Alaykum. I need help with a family problem. My mother is divorced for some years now, and has raised me and my brother by herself. Last year, my mother has become a practicing Muslim Alhamdulillah. Now my brother, who is 20, has strayed and stopped his education, and went on taking soft drugs (like cannabis). After finding out about this half year ago, my mother tried all she could to get him engaged in something constructive. She motivated him to do a course and has been doing all she can to get him back to the straight path. Now, I don't live close to them. My dad lives abroad, and so does the rest to of our relatives. The problem is that since I have left them two and a half years ago for studies, and my brother has become “grown up”, he is getting more and more abusive towards our mother. She tells me that he pushes her and hits her. Last night, when I was visiting them, she came down at a certain point, crying and holding her neck, saying that he almost strangled her. It hurts me so bad to see my mother suffering by the hands of her son. I feel so powerless. I have tried talking to her to convince her to kick him out of the home before he kills her, God forbid, but she wants to save him from the drugs at her own expense. I tried talking to him as well, but he just turns on his aggression towards me as well. I wanted to call the police, but my mum wouldn't let me. I want to help her. She just bought a new house and is moving in two months. I would like that she moves alone, but she says that she's afraid of him, and if he can't come too, he'll do something to her. My brother doesn't want to be helped; he won't go to a clinic or anything, and we can't force him. My mum is scared that if she kicks him out, he'll have hard drugs and never become a good person again. I know patience is important, but this is getting ridiculous and dangerous. My father will visit us in a month in order try to work it out with him. Please help me what to do. Thank you.



As-Salaamu ‘Alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh,

I understand the grave circumstances and problems you and your mother are exposed to with your brother.

I ask Allah (swt) to help you cope with these conditions.

I appreciate your feelings; however, you should behave exactly as would you behave on learning of any other serious problem involving a loved one.

Just as if the person had diabetes, angina, or HIV, it is important not to panic. Try not to judge even if you have been hurt. 

You have to understand that your brother suffers also from several problems that lead him to go on the way of using cannabis.

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He was suffering from the loss of your father. Now, he also suffers from sensations of failure, being hated and refused, in addition to some sort of aggression because of his bad habit and bad behaviors.

Giving love and care are the first steps in his treatment.

These are what he needs the most now, but this can’t be achieved while you are away.

You can do that during your summer vacation, and your parents should share in giving this support and sympathy to their son.

You should tell your father that you, as a family, are in extreme need of his care and support to overcome and pass this problematic situation.

With time, patience, and understanding, most of these tensions can be overcome, and previous harmonious relationships restored and even improved. After restoring the normal intimate relation with your brother, you should discuss his problems with him friendly.

The first step of any treatment schedule is to recognize the extent and the dangers of the problem.

He should know that although cannabin drugs are not addictive in the ordinary sense, they can occasionally be associated with a psychological dependence.

In such cases, he may spend inordinate amount of time and money consuming the drug.

He should be informed also that cannabis use is not harmless.

Like other burnt inhalations, it contains carcinogens, tar, and carbon monoxide.

Hence, it causes respiratory inflammation and increases the risk of cancer.

It has been estimated that these effects are more dangerous than tobacco smoke.

During these discussions, it is best not to offer advice however tempting it may be.

In your effort to understand, it is best to offer support and sympathy even when these do not come readily.

You should take care not to worsen the situation by giving money which could be used for drugs.

Give him all what he needs but not in the form of money. 

How to help a drug user in the family:


–  Offer sympathy and support

–  Assist with housing and bills

–  Be honest about prejudices

–  Seek expert advice

–  Consult others for recovery

–  Assist with chosen treatment


– Do not panic or pity

–  Do not give cash to the addict

–  Do not set judge morally

–  Do not set unrealistic goals

–  Do not cut off dialogue

–  Do not influence treatment type

During this period, the dependence on the drug must be replaced by other positive things in daily life such as hobbies and loved entertainment.

You should also attempt to find or change the friends surrounding him and encouraging him to use the cannabis.

During cannabis abstinence, you should also consider taking each day as it comes and do not plan too far into the future.

Also, you should put in your mind and convince him that a lapse is not the end of the world; one lapse does not mean a relapse. 

Finally, with love, sympathy, and psychological support, you can pass this problematic period, and you can achieve your goal.



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