Annie Fox for Teens... Hey, Terra!

Annie (AKA Hey Terra!) has been around long enough to have experienced a lot of what Life can dish out. But, it hasn’t been so long that she's forgotten what it's like to be your age. Check out some of the thousands of email questions teens from around the world have sent to Terra. You may learn something useful from her answers:

Drugs and Alcohol:
“I'm very scared about my friend's drug use.”

Hey Terra,

My friend who I have known for years and is like a brother to me got on weed just before we left secondary school. At the time I didn't think of it as such a big issue because back then I was doing it as well, so I guess this would basically be my fault.

When he started college he met a lad (a junkie) who could get weed for us very easily. Recently I stopped using due to developing anxiety problems which I thought were being caused by the drugs. My friend continued. This other boy he got my friend into doing heavy stuff like cocaine, E and God knows what else.

When I try to talk to my friend about what he is doing and if he could cut down, he yells at me and tells me to stop trying to control his life and then later will most likely be with the junkie.

Recently the junkie was caught with cocaine by his mother and moved into my friend's house. For me this is torture because I cannot see my friend and he goes out without his phone so I can't contact him and I get worried sick in case something has happened to him. They go out early morning and come home late at night wasted on drugs. I don't know what's gonna happen to him and I am really scared. Our friendship has almost fallen apart many times because of the junkie. I'm scared about losing him but mostly about his health.

I really don't know what to do. Sometimes I think about ending the friendship because it is causing me emotional pain.

Please help me.

Worried Friend

Dear Worried Friend,

Not everyone is so concerned about friends that they want to help them the way that you do. I admire your caring instincts.

Even though at the start of this story you and your friend were both smoking weed, what is going on with him now is NOT something you should blame yourself for. You may have suggested smoking weed to him, but I'm sure it was never your intention that he become a drug addict. When there is no bad intention involved in a choice you make, you shouldn't blame yourself for The choices he made afterwards. You made a personal choice to stop your drug use. He made a personal choice to continue (and he makes that choice every time he uses). So please let go of whatever guilt you may be caring around... You are not responsible for where he's at now.

As for what to do next: well, your friend is making really bad choices. And yes, the fact that this other lad is in the picture isn't helping, but your friend is not an innocent bystander. He's living his life the way he wants to at this point in time. And even though you care about him "like a brother" he's absolutely correct when he tells you to "stop trying to control his life." The truth is, you have zero control over the choices he makes and you are just stressing yourself out trying to control what you have no control over. Might as well try to control the weather for all the good it will do!

You should know that a person who uses drugs to the extent your friend appears to be using has altered his brain. When you talk to him, he's "wasted" so it's not really your friend who's responding to you at all. It's the drugs that are talking.

You are not your friend's parent. And as heartbreakingly foolish and dangerous as his behavior is, you cannot live his life for him. You cannot order him to get into a drug rehab program (which he needs). If he is 18, then he's an adult and he makes his own choices. If he's under 18 and you know his parents, they may be able to put him in a treatment program.

Irregardless of your friend's age, you might want to talk with his mom. She obviously knows about his drug use but does she know the extent? Has she given up on him? Maybe if you talked to her and shared your concern about your friend, that would help both of you feel less alone with this problem. Maybe you could join forces with his mom and in your shared love for your friend, together you could take a step in the direction of getting him the help he needs.

Because you are clearly so troubled by all of this, my suggestion to you is for you to take care of yourself. Be honest with your friend. Tell him what you told me. You might say something like this: "Because of your drug use, being friends with you is hurting me. I can't stand seeing you like this. You know how I feel. I'm scared and worried for you and what you're doing to your life. But it IS your life, not mine. I make my own choices as you do. My choice is to back away from this friendship now because I can't help you and I can't stand by and watch what you're doing. If you decide you want to stop doing drugs, then I'll be here to support you, but for now, I need to stop making your problems my problem."

Good luck.

In friendship,


Need some advice? Write to Terra. She'll give you a straight answer you can trust without any lectures.

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